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Monday, 30 October 2017

Celebrate Halloween through chemistry

Halloween, the yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or Saints). Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films. A little chemistry can add a lot of ghastly, ghostly effect to the Halloween celebration. Here are some top Halloween projects that apply command of chemistry.
Realistic fake blood
Realistic fake blood can be obtained by mixing 4-6 drops red of food colouring to 1/4 cup of white corn syrup. This yields a bright red blood. The corn syrup is sticky and the red food colouring will stain.fake blood.
Fake flesh
Common kitchen ingredients can be used to make non-toxic fake flesh or organs for Halloween party. Mix together the corn starch, food colouring and water. After a smooth consistency is achieved, mix in the cocoa powder. Using fingers press the mixture against the side of a bowl to form organ shapes.

New gene-editing tool that could eliminate hundreds of diseases

Scientists at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have developed a new class of genome editing tool. This new “base editor” can directly repair the type of single-letter changes in the human genome that account for approximately half of human disease-associated point mutations. These mutations are associated with disorders ranging from genetic blindness to sickle-cell anemia to metabolic disorders to cystic fibrosis.
The research team, led by David Liu, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University, core institute member at the Broad Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, developed a molecular machine that can convert the DNA base pair A•T to G•C, without cutting the double helix, with high efficiency and virtually no undesired products. The development is an important addition to the growing suite of genome editing tools.
The new system is described in the journal Nature.
In addition to Liu, the study was led by Nicole Gaudelli, a postdoctoral fellow in Liu’s lab; Alexis Komor, a former postdoctoral fellow in Liu’s lab who is now an assistant professor at UCSD; graduate student Holly Rees; former graduate students Michael Packer and Ahmed Badran, and former postdoctoral fellow David Bryson.
The new system, dubbed Adenine Base Editor (ABE), can be programmed to target a specific base pair in a genome using a guide RNA and a modified form of CRISPR-Cas9. It works by rearranging the atoms in a target adenine (A) — one of the four bases that make up DNA — to instead resemble guanine (G), and then tricking cells into fixing the other DNA strand to complete the base pair conversion, making the change permanent. As a result, what used to be an A•T base pair becomes a G•C base pair.
Not only is the system very efficient compared with other genome editing techniques for correcting point mutations, but there are virtually no detectable byproducts such as random insertions, deletions, translocations, or other base-to-base conversions.
Making this specific change is important because approximately half of the 32,000 disease-associated point mutations already identified by researchers are a change from G•C to A•T.
“We developed a new base editor a molecular machine that in a programmable, irreversible, efficient, and clean manner can correct these mutations in the genome of living cells,” said Liu, who is also the Richard Merkin professor and director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare at the Broad.

Clariant expands mining solution support for Mexico

Clariant International Ltd for the first time has expanded its comprehensive suite of mining-specific product innovations and technical expertise to customers in Mexico. Clariant has been supporting Latin America's mining industry for five decades and now growing its footprint in Mexico. This broadening is a response to the increase in exploration activity within the country.
Clariant mining services are the only supplier in the mining industry to offer customized chemical solutions for the end-to-end mining process, which includes a leading technology in flotation chemistry and explosive emulsifiers. Clariant's wide product portfolio covers all the major ores, especially copper, iron and phosphates, which aligns with the Mexican industry's focus. Clariant's in-depth technical expertise has over 50 years of proven mining experience creating customized solutions for mineral processing.
In particular, customers in Mexico will be supported by Clariant's Global Competency Center for Sulphide Ore Application and Development in Tucson, Arizona, which opened in November 2016. Having the hub for mining research located close to the US-Mexico border will facilitate close cooperation on individual challenges.

Brenntag holds key handover ceremony for new headquarters in Essen

Brenntag AG celebrates the official hand-over of the keys to its new company headquarters in Essen, Germany. Employees are scheduled to move into the new building in Essen-Ruttenscheid - named the "House of Elements" - in mid-November.
The six-storey House of Elements in Essen's Gruga Carree is the headquarters of Brenntag AG, Brenntag Holding GmbH and Brenntag GmbH. With a gross floor area of around 20,700 square meters, it can accommodate up to 650 employees.
The House of Elements has been built in accordance with the sustainability criteria of the LEED Gold Standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The certification considers the building's features with regard to energy and resource-efficiency, indoor climate and pollutant emissions, as well as its links to local public transport.
"The new building provided Brenntag with an opportunity to design the House of Elements according to its own requirements. We've made good use of this: the result is a representative, forward-looking and sustainable company headquarters that offers our employees an attractive, modern working environment,” said Steve Holland, CEO of Brenntag AG

ExxonMobil to acquire 33 pc interest in Statoil’s Carcara oil field

ExxonMobil Corporation has completed an agreement to purchase half of Statoil’s interest in the BM-S-8 block offshore Brazil, which contains part of the pre-salt Carcara oil field. The Carcara field contains an estimated recoverable resource of 2 billion barrels of high-quality oil. The block is located approximately 200 miles offshore Rio de Janeiro.
Statoil currently holds a 66 percent interest in the block, which contains about half the Carcara field. Statoil will continue to operate the Carcara development and hold 33 percent interest.
ExxonMobil will make an upfront cash payment of approximately $800 million for the interest in BM-S-8 block, and an additional contingent cash payment for a potential total of approximately $1.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close in 2018.
Following the close of the transaction, partner interests in the BM-S-8 block will be 33 percent for Statoil, 33 percent for ExxonMobil, 14 percent for Petrogal Brasil, a subsidiary of Galp, and 10 percent each for Queiroz Galvao Exploracao e Producao (QGEP) and Barra.

Sika opens second concrete admixtures facility in Angola

Sika AG opens a new concrete admixtures facility in the Angolan capital, Luanda, expanding its presence in Africa. In addition to the production of concrete admixtures in an existing factory, mortar products - one of the Sika Group's fastest-growing areas of business - will also be manufactured locally.
With the additional production capacities in Angola, Sika is moving further toward its goal of covering about 70 percent of the market potential on the African continent with its own subsidiaries and production facilities.
In this West African nation, the construction industry is receiving considerable impetus from major investments in infrastructure and in residential, industrial and commercial properties. Sika has also recently commissioned mortar production facilities in the countries of Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

BASF, Poietis sign agreement on 3D bioprinting technology

BASF SE and Poietis SAS have signed a framework agreement on further development and services in the field of 3D bioprinting technology. The main goal is to further improve the 3D laser-assisted bioprinted skin models that have been co-developed since 2015 to evaluate cosmetic ingredients for skin care applications.
The 3D laser-assisted bioprinting technology, by which organic tissues can be reproduced, allows a precise positioning of skin cells in three-dimensional structures. Thus, it is now possible to produce fully printed skin equivalents in only two weeks to further study active ingredients effectiveness.
In the coming years, BASF intends to develop and market several active ingredients for cosmetic products that harness the findings of the collaboration. At this year's Cosmetagora, Dermagenist led the way being BASF’s first active ingredient whose efficacy has been confirmed by using laser-assisted bioprinted skin models.
“Bio-printed 3D models are the method of choice for the predictive evaluation of ingredients as these models reproduce the cell environment in vitro by having mechanical and metabolic functionalities close to the vivo,” said Fabien Guillemot, founder and president of Poietis.

Wacker expands technical center in Adrian; Opens new lab for cyclodextrins

Wacker Chemie AG is expanding the service portfolio of its technical centre in Adrian, Michigan, US. For the first time, Wacker is establishing a global laboratory dedicated to developing and commercializing new industrial applications for its cyclodextrin products.
These organic, ring-shaped sugar molecules are capable of binding, releasing or stabilizing substances. Because of these abilities, cyclodextrins are used in numerous industries, from household and personal care to pharma, cosmetics, textiles, food and agrochemicals, as well as in the coatings sector. The new laboratory enables Wacker to develop together with its customers novel, tailored product solutions and to open new markets for cyclodextrins.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Songwon names Lehmann&Voss&Co as exclusive European distributor

Songwon Industrial Co Ltd has entered into an exclusive distribution partnership with Lehmann&Voss&Co for fuel & lubes antioxidants.
Effective as of October 2017, Lehman&Voss&Co is now the exclusive distributor in the European market of all Songwon’s fuel & lubes antioxidants, including the aminic, phenolic and phosphite. Lehmann&Voss&Co is a highly respected technological solutions provider and a supplier of chemical and mineral specialties.
As Songwon’s exclusive distributor in Europe, Lehmann&Voss&Co will use its expertise and its well-established European reputation for anticipating and servicing the needs of customers, to support Songwon’s aim to expand the business in this market.
“We are pleased to be leveraging Lehmann&Voss&Co’s expertise and local footprint to capitalize on the opportunities that are available in this important region. This partnership will enable us to ensure that Songwon products reach a greater number of fuel & lubes antioxidants customers and support our target to grow our business long-term,” said Dr Olivier Keiser, Songwon’s leader of fuel & lube additives.

IFF launches program to tap unmet consumer opportunities, speed innovation

International Flavours & Fragrances Inc (IFF) has launched their Re-Imagine programs to accelerate innovation and increase agility to capture unmet opportunities in the changing food and beverage market.
Based on a combination of future trends analysis, consumer insights, and a modernized cross-category development process, the programs guide the company’s research and development efforts to ensure an innovation pipeline that addresses evolving consumer needs and desires.
The programs focus on six key areas, including culinary, citrus, delivery systems, naturals, modulation and protein and were selected based on market potential, customer input, expert industry collaboration and versatility across end-use categories. They consider a rapidly changing world – from the expectations of sophisticated consumers too busy to cook for themselves; to the realities of a warming climate and its impact on key crops and ingredients; to an increased awareness of our role in the health of the planet.

Clariant, Huntsman mutually agree to end planned merger of equals

Clariant (CLN) and Huntsman Corporation (HUN) said that they have mutually ended their proposed merger of equals. The decision was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both the companies.
In a joint statement, Peter Huntsman, president and CEO of Huntsman, and Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant, stated: "We remain convinced that the proposed merger of equals as agreed to on May 21, 2017, would have been in the long-term best interests of all of our shareholders. But, given the continued accumulation of Clariant shares by activist investor White Tale Holdings and its opposition to the transaction, which is now supported by some other shareholders, we believe that there is simply too much uncertainty as to whether Clariant will be able to secure the two-thirds shareholder approval that is required to approve the transaction under Swiss law.”
“Under these circumstances and in light of the high level of disruption and uncertainty that has been created for both companies, we have jointly decided to terminate the merger agreement. This will allow both companies to focus again fully on their respective stand-alone strategies in the best interests of the companies and their shareholders, associates, and other stakeholders. We maintain a great respect for one another, and we want to recognize and express our mutual and deep appreciation for the efforts and incredible commitment demonstrated by the associates of each company over the past several months," they added.
The termination agreement foresees no payment of a break fee on either side. Clariant, therefore, avoids paying both the $210m deal breakage fee and the $60m EGM non-approval fee as foreseen in the merger agreement.

AkzoNobel completes chemical island expansion, supports pulp industry in Brazil

AkzoNobel’s speciality chemicals business has completed the expansion of a chemical island in Brazil, to support a major project for Brazilian forestry company Fibria. The world’s leading producer of eucalyptus pulp from planted forests, Fibria has invested $2.2 billion to more than double pulp capacity at its mill in Tres Lagoas to 3.25 million tonnes per year.
The expansion of the chemical island (a concept developed by AkzoNobel) includes the installation of a second chlorine dioxide plant, as well as increased space for storage and logistics. The chemical island concept provides pulp mill customers with a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the production and supply of bleaching chemicals as well as services for other chemical processes.
The new production line in Tres Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state) is now the largest single pulp line in the world and strengthens Fibria’s leading market position. The new chemical island is also the largest of the four being operated by AkzoNobel to serve the Brazilian pulp industry.

Solvay appoints new head for aroma performance unit

Solvay SA has appointed Peter Browning as president of the aroma performance global business unit. 
Peter has more than 20 years of leadership experience within Solvay, including as automotive market director and general manager for the former engineering plastics global business unit and as business unit director for silica.
Before joining Solvay, Peter held both commercial and production management roles with Procter & Gamble.

Global BioLife develops breakthrough in modified low-calorie sugar

Singapore eDevelopment Ltd (SeD) said that US biomedical subsidiary Global BioLife Inc has developed a breakthrough low-calorie, low glycemic index, natural, modified sugar Laetose – which has the potential to affect the world's sugar market.
Global BioLife has established a collaboration with top US candy manufacturer Quality Candy Company LLC for the development, manufacture and global distribution of Laetose.
Developed by Daryl Thompson, Global BioLife director of scientific initiatives, Laetose is a functional sugar with a 30 percent to 50 percent lower calorie-count than regular sugar, possesses low glycemic properties, and also assists in mitigating inflammatory responses.
According to a recent report by World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of obese children aged 5 to 19 rose globally more than ten-fold from 11mil in 1975 to 124mil in 2016. The WHO report said that countries should seek to reduce consumption of cheap, ultra-processed, calorie-dense nutrition-poor foods.
Studies have shown that excessive sugar consumption is the primary cause of modern diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity. While sugar is not toxic, the human body perceives it as such and, in turn, initiates pro-inflammatory responses. Laetose could help mitigate such reactions by reducing the rate of glucose absorption throughout the body.
The market for a safe and affordable alternative to sugar is growing due to increasing awareness of health risks associated with the excessive consumption of refined sugar. Although Laetose is marketed as an alternative usable in everything from baking to cooking, and as a table top sweetener, the ultimate goal is to infuse Laetose into the multibillion-dollar beverage industry. Unlike other natural-based and artificial sweeteners widely used in beverages, Laetose's unique patent-pending formula has no aftertaste.
"In this day and age, we should be exploring ways to make smarter foods. Our Laetose modified sugar has been designed specifically for this purpose," said Global BioLife’s Thompson, a pioneering natural products scientist cited, amongst others, for his achievements in organic and carbohydrate chemistry.

KBR bags project management contract for Australia’s copper project

KBR Inc (KBR) has been awarded a contract by OZ Minerals for project management services for the development of its Carrapateena copper-gold project located in South Australia.
Under the contract, KBR will provide professional services for the execution phase of the project as part of an integrated project team. KBR had previously been supporting OZ Minerals to finalize its early contractor involvement strategy and associated feasibility study activities.
"We are excited to be working with OZ Minerals on the Carrapateena mine development to progress Australia's largest undeveloped copper project. With an operating life of at least 20 years, Carrapateena represents a major growth opportunity for South Australia with around 1,000 jobs created from construction through to production and longer-term business and employment opportunities for communities in the region," said Greg Conlon, president Asia Pacific, KBR.

Orecchioni resigns as president and COO of BioAmber

BioAmber Inc (BIOA) has accepted the resignation of Fabrice Orecchioni as president and chief operating officer (COO).
Orecchioni will be assuming an advisory role with BioAmber, supporting a series of strategic initiatives through to February 24, 2018.
BioAmber appointed Orecchioni as its new president recently in Feb 2017. He succeeded Jean-Francois Huc who has resigned as the company’s president and CEO for personal reasons.

CF Industries rating outlook revised to negative: Fitch

A report from Fitch Ratings Inc states that it has affirmed the issuer default ratings (IDR) of CF Industries Holdings Inc (CF) and CF Industries Inc. (CF Industries) at 'BB+'.
Fitch revised the rating outlook to negative from stable to reflect drop-in earnings expectations and a risk of higher leverage through the ratings horizon. Fitch believes that weakness in the nitrogen fertilizer market is likely to persist into 2018 with a gradual recovery thereafter.
Key rating drivers
Largest nitrogen producer: CF Industries Holdings Inc benefits from its position as the largest nitrogen fertilizer producer in North America and globally, as well as its position as one of the lower cost producers globally, given the shale gas advantage. The company operates five nitrogen fertilizer production facilities in US, two in Canada and two in UK. CF accounted for roughly 43 percent of North American ammonia capacity in 2016.
Expected ammonia weakness: Fitch believes ammonia prices will remain relatively low through 2018 on global oversupply before improving on better demand and supply rationalization. Recovery in domestic nitrogen fertilizer prices depends on capacity closures, which would accelerate from strengthening global energy prices. In particular, stronger Asia Pacific coal markets could accelerate closures and further improve CF's cost position.
Recovering FCF: Spending on expansion projects at CF's Port Neal and Donaldsonville facilities is substantially complete, and annual capital spending in 2017 and thereafter should drop to below $450 million. Fitch expects FCF after dividends to be positive on average and at least $200 million in each of 2019 and 2020.

IFF commissions new fragrance ingredients plant in China

International Flavours & Fragrances Inc (IFF) said that it is commissioning a new fragrance ingredients plant in Jiande, China. The plant underscores IFF’s commitment to the region and builds on the company’s global presence for the sector. The new facility occupies approximately 165,000 square meters and will serve IFF customers globally.
The plant was designed to help deliver on IFF’s strategic sustainability goals and to minimize its environmental impact with a special focus on areas of greatest sensitivity to the region. The facility was designed to have the lowest water consumption per kilo of production in IFF’s operations network. Additionally, a state-of-the-art odour abatement system was installed in collaboration with global experts to ensure the best-in-class environmental compliance.
By leveraging the latest technologies available, the company believes that from the first full year of production, the Jiande plant will be one of IFF’s most resource-efficient manufacturing locations globally.
IFF’s existing plant in China will serve as its centre for training, teaching approximately 100 Chinese employees through 2018 in production skills, safety best practices, sustainability, and more. IFF’s employee base in China is the company’s third-largest globally.

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