Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wall Street Journal- Copper's Newest Job: Germ Fighter - Points to BioLargo Opportunity

  • The Wall Street Journal

Copper's Newest Job: Germ Fighter

NEW YORK—A study that showed copper kills bacteria on contact points to an expansion of possible uses for the industrial metal, which is already found in a range of products.

The prospect of hospitals around the world installing copper surfaces, amid other applications of the metal, have copper producers predicting an increase in demand.

However, efforts to use more copper in medical environments are still largely in the research stage, and it's unclear whether a significant increase in consumption of the metal will result.

[COMMOD]

"Certainly, it's one of several potential sources of demand growth for copper over the next few years," said Nicholas Snowdon, a base-metals analyst with Barclays Capital. "It's something that's been on the radar for some time, but it's still not known what degree of uptake there's going to be."

Concerns about demand for copper have driven futures prices for much of this year. Strong demand from China, the world's No. 1 consumer of the metal, helped futures traded in New York settle above $4.60 a pound in February, an all-time high, while concern that the euro zone's debt crisis would cause a global economic slowdown sent prices to just above $3 Thursday. On Friday, copper for October delivery settled at $3.2190, up 5.4%.

The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, found copper surfaces in rooms in intensive-care units cut the amount of bacteria in the rooms by 97% and reduced the rate of hospital-acquired infections by 41%. The copper was tested on a variety of bacteria, including a strain of E. coli and MRSA, a type of staph bacteria that can be difficult to treat.

"If this research translates…we could potentially cut the cost of hospital-acquired infections," said Dr. Michael Schmidt, vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the study.

Approximately one out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an infection related to their health care while in the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Schmidt said copper's superior ability to conduct electricity is what helps the metal prevent the spread of germs. All living things generate electricity, and when bacteria come in contact with a copper surface, the metal siphons off their electrons, leaving them without energy, he said.

The metal does this naturally, requiring no human intervention, he said.

Global adoption of antimicrobial copper by the health-care industry could see world copper demand increase by upward of 500,000 metric tons a year, said Jurgen Leibbrandt, executive vice president of commercial development at the world's largest copper-mining company, Chilean state-owned Corporacion del Cobre de Chile, or Codelco. Codelco donated copper to intensive-care units across Chile last year.

The company also signed a collaboration agreement with Chile's rapidly expanding subway network to ensure future stations will be outfitted with copper handrails instead of stainless steel or plastic.

"If you add in the public-transport sector, that number could be one million metric tons" a year of increased demand, Mr. Liebbrandt said.

Analysts are more cautious about the impact of antimicrobial applications on the global copper market.

Write to Tatyana Shumsky at tatyana.shumsky@dowjones.com

Friday, 21 October 2011

Wall Street Journal - Contaminated Pools Cited in Listeria Spread- Points to BioLargo Opportunity

  • The Wall Street Journal

Contaminated Pools Cited in Listeria Spread

Contaminated equipment and pools of tainted water on the floor likely led to the spread of deadly listeria bacteria at a Colorado cantaloupe farm, federal officials said Wednesday.

It is the first time the Food and Drug Administration has described what likely led to the outbreak, which is the deadliest food-borne illness incident since 1985. The death toll rose to 25 people Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The packing facility's design allowed water to pool on the floor near equipment and employee walkways," the FDA said in a report. The facility was "constructed in a manner that made it difficult to clean," the agency said.

In a letter to the cantaloupe facility, Jensen Farms of Holly, Colo., the FDA said 13 of 39 tests for listeria on facility equipment surfaces were positive for the bacteria. "These positive swabs were taken from different locations throughout the washing and packing areas in your facility, all of which were either food contact surfaces or areas adjacent to food contact surfaces," the FDA said in the letter.

The farm, in a statement issued Wednesday, said it needed time to review the FDA findings. It pledged not to resume cantaloupe production until it was "completely satisfied that we have done everything in our power to ensure the safety of our products."

Jensen Farms announced a multistate recall of millions of cantaloupes Sept. 14, a day before the FDA confirmed the farm was the source of the outbreak. There were 300,000 cases of recalled cantaloupes, containing 1.5 million to 4.5 million melons, shipped to retailers and wholesalers in 20 states.

It is still unclear how listeria got into the cantaloupe packing plant before it spread among the melons, the FDA said. It could have come from the field the melons were grown in, or a contaminated truck used to haul them.

A dump truck used to transport defective melons to a cattle ranch was parked near the open-air packing facility, said Jim Gorny, FDA senior adviser for public safety. Cattle can be a carrier of listeria, and the truck used to transport the discarded melons could have brought the bacteria back to the farm after contact with the cattle, Mr. Gorny said.

The city water source used by Jensen Farms wasn't contaminated, the FDA said. But FDA investigators are still looking into the possibility that washing and drying equipment—previously used by potato farmers—became contaminated and spread the bacteria. Mr. Gorny said there was no concern about the safety of potatoes because, in general, they aren't eaten raw.

The safety conditions at the Jensen Farms packing facility come under the oversight authority of the FDA, but the agency hadn't inspected the facility before the listeria outbreak, according to Roberta Wagner, FDA deputy director for regulatory affairs.

Under a new food-safety law signed by President Barack Obama this year, inspections of the facility will be required, but only once every five to seven years, Ms. Wagner said.

Write to Bill Tomson at bill.tomson@dowjones.com

WSJ- EPA to Set Standards on Fracking Waste Water- Point to BioLargo Opportunity

  • The Wall Street Journal

Agency to Set Standards on Fracking Waste Water

The Environmental Protection Agency, responding to concerns about potential water contamination from natural-gas drilling, said it would develop standards for disposing of waste water from the process.

The decision comes amid questions involving the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground to unleash natural gas trapped in shale formations. Much of that water, often laden with salt and chemicals and known as "flowback," returns to the surface and requires disposal.

Some waste water is reused or injected into underground wells, and some is sent to waste-water treatment plants. In a statement, the EPA said many treatment plants "are not properly equipped to treat this type of waste water," and said it would consider standards that must be met before water can be sent to a treatment facility.

The rules, which the agency said would be proposed by 2014, would be among the first federal regulations aimed at fracking's potential impact on water. Environmentalists and people who live near fracking operations have raised questions about possible contamination to surface water if waste water is improperly disposed.

The EPA is conducting a study to determine fracking's impact on water, including whether it has contaminated water supplies.

"The worry is that the flowback is contaminated, whether it's salt, minerals, chemicals, hydrocarbons, and that it's being released into the environment in a way that may harm the public," said Amy Mall, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmentalist group.

Industry groups reacted coolly to the potential federal rules, saying states are better-suited to deal with disposal issues.

"Like all oversight of natural-gas development, waste-water disposal is actively regulated at the state level," said Daniel Whitten, a spokesman for America's Natural Gas Alliance. He said state professionals "are best qualified to assess the unique geological characteristics of the shale plays in their region and the appropriate water disposal requirements that arise from those conditions."

Rules on waste-water disposal vary by state, and earlier this year several states, including Pennsylvania, urged the EPA to update its waste-water disposal standards. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has authority for waste-water discharges to surface waters and municipal sewage-treatment plants.

The move comes as the EPA's regulatory agenda faces a broad attack from Republican lawmakers and industry groups, who say the agency's rules are hampering the economic recovery and impeding development of oil and gas. In announcing its effort Thursday, the EPA tried to blunt criticism by praising natural gas and promising that any new industry requirements would be based on "economically achievable technologies."

"The president has made clear that natural gas has a central role to play in our energy economy," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "We can protect the health of American families and communities at the same time we ensure access to all of the important resources that make up our energy economy."

Write to Deborah Solomon at deborah.solomon@wsj.com

Monday, 17 October 2011

EPA Hearing Focuses on Air Quality at Wells- Fracking Issue- Points to BioLargo Opportunity

  • The Wall Street Journal

Hearing Focuses on Air Quality at Wells

ARLINGTON, Texas—Residents living amid oil and gas well sites urged federal environmental regulators Thursday to implement rules that would require the industry to capture almost all of the smog-producing compounds it now releases while drilling.

The resurgence of domestic onshore oil and gas drilling has created thousands of jobs and produced billions in profits for shareholders. It has even prompted talk of slashing U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources. Drilling into shale rock and using hydraulic fracturing to break open the rock and release oil and gas has spread from Texas to Pennsylvania, Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio.

Residents and industry representatives attended a public hearing here Thursday, the last of three across the U.S. to gather comment on the proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, which could go into effect next spring.

The EPA's proposed new emission regulations would govern all oil and gas drilling, though its concern is focused on new wells into shale because drilling and hydraulically fracturing these wells requires drilling rigs, compressor stations and other machinery that generate air pollution.

In north Texas, above the fecund Barnett Shale, where the drilling renaissance began a decade ago, some residents were concerned their air was being fouled from such operations.

"This is a metropolitan area and we need to breathe," said Susan Waskey, a 53-year-old retiree from Argyle, Texas who was among about 140 people who attended the hearing.

Many of the residents who spoke in the morning portion of the hearing favored the EPA proposals, but at least one said she was concerned that the economic benefits of drilling would be hindered by more rules.

The industry, wary of public discontent, isn't outright opposing the proposed new rules, but wants to modify parts and delay their implementation.

"There needs to be more time for compliance," said Thomas Sullivan, an environmental engineering consultant who spoke on behalf of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a trade group.

The industry's position, however, didn't appease many of the citizens at the gathering.

"It's just a stall tactic," said John Rath, a 54-year-old resident of nearby Grapevine, Texas, who attended the hearing. "Our air needs to get cleaned up."

The new rules also target methane, the primary ingredient in natural gas and, says the EPA, especially potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

The agency is developing the regulations as part of a court agreement that resulted from a 2009 lawsuit by two environmental groups that accused it of failing to properly oversee air pollution from the oil and natural gas industry. Under the deal, the EPA must issue the final rules by the end of February.

Several studies have found that emissions from the large number of machines required to develop modern gas fields is having a negative impact on air quality.

In 2009, a Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality study found that large-scale natural gas development in a rural county, with a population density of two people per square mile, had pushed ozone levels beyond federal air standards.

The environmental community is applauding the government's efforts. "This is the really the first time that the EPA is updating its old air standards to include the oil and gas industry," says Deb Nardone, the Sierra Club's Natural Gas Campaign Director.

The American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for larger oil companies in Washington D.C., called the proposed changes reasonable. "Some rules are worse than others and this rule is not the end of the world as long as we can get time to implement it," says Howard Feldman, the group's director of regulatory and scientific affairs.

But some at the hearing raised questions about the data the EPA was using to determine the amount of gas that escapes into the air at well sites, saying that in many wells the amount was much smaller than what the agency estimated. Darren Smith, environment, health and safety manager at Devon Energy Corp., told EPA officials they should review their numbers before settling on any rules.

"We are strongly opposed to using misleading emission estimates to force this requirement where it isn't feasible," he told EPA officials during the hearing.

A spokeswoman from the EPA said the agency would evaluate all of the comments collected during the hearings before making any decisions.

Write to Ana Campoy at ana.campoy@dowjones.com and Russell Gold at russell.gold@wsj.com

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

BioLargo Announces the Purchase of One Half Interest in Award Winning Isan System to Solve Food Safety Issues



BioLargo Announces the Purchase of a One Half Interest in Award Winning Isan System to Solve Food Safety Issues

(Press Release Dated 10-6-2011) LA MIRADA, CA—October 6, 2011--BioLargo, Inc. (OTCBB: BLGO), creator of patented iodine technologies, today announced that it had entered into a joint venture relationship whereby it purchased a 50% interest in the patents and other intellectual property surrounding the Isan system.

BioLargo’s prior license agreement with Ioteq Inc., relating to the Isan system, was formally terminated on October 3, 2011. As a result of the transaction, the Isan system technology is now owned on an equal basis between BioLargo and Peter Holdings Pty. Ltd., which was the principal source of capital that funded the development and commercial efforts related to Ioteq IP Pty.

Ltd. and the Isan system. The intellectual property was purchased by Peter Holdings and BioLargo from Ioteq IP Pty. Ltd., which has now ceased operations and is in process of liquidation.

“BioLargo’s existing iodine technologies are synergistic with the Isan system, stated BioLargo President and CEO, Dennis Calvert. “The Isan system has received patents in multiple countries, and regulatory approval in Australia and New Zealand. Currently there are approximately 150 installations being serviced by a local Australian distributor with an emphasis in hydroponics, irrigation supply and post harvest wash related uses.”

“The patented Isan system is a proven iodine based disinfection system for use across many industries. It has a robust history and commercial proof of claims that have been advanced in Australia over the past nine years. It has been referred to as one of the most important technical advancements in food safety in the past 20 years, and won a ‘top 50 water company award’ by the Artemis Project in 2010. We believe its role in sustainable water recycle and reuse programs will be of global interest as we work to position it as a staple technology in agriculture production, processing and food safety programs. We have been encouraged by the feedback and interest we have received from key global industry participants since we began working with the Isan system in 2008.

Recent food borne illness and even death from dangerous pathogens like listeria, salmonella and E. coli all point to the need for the traceability and reliability for disinfection performance that the Isan system offers. We are thankful for our relationship with Peter Holdings and the Isan system and we have high expectations for its future.”







BioLargo Announces Election of John S. Runyan, Former President & CEO of Associated Grocers & Sr. Career Exec. of Fleming Companies to its Board



Press Release Source: BioLargo, Inc. On Wednesday October 5, 2011, 9:15 am EDT

LA MIRADA, CA--(Marketwire -10/05/11)- BioLargo, Inc. (OTC.BB:BLGO.OB - News), creator of patented iodine technologies, today announced that Mr. John S. Runyan has agreed to join its Board of Directors.

John Runyan has spent his career in the food industry. He began as a stock boy at age 12, and ultimately served the Fleming Companies for 38 years, his last 10 as a Senior Executive Officer in its corporate headquarters where he was Group President of Price Impact Retail Stores with annual sales of over $3 billion. He retired from Fleming in 2001, and established JSR&R Company executive advising, with a primary emphasis in the United States and international food business. His clients have included Coca Cola, Food 4 Less Price Impact Stores, IGA, Inc., Golden State Foods, and Bozzuto. In 2005, he joined Associated Grocers in Seattle, Washington as President and CEO, overseeing its purchase in 2007 by Unified Grocers, at which time he became, and still serves as, Executive Advisor to its President and CEO. Mr. Runyan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Western Association of Food Chains, Retailer Owned Food Distributors of America, and Nietech Company of Santa Rosa, California. Additionally, Mr. Runyan served 8 years as a board member of the City of Hope's Northern California Food Industry Circle, which included two terms and President, was recognized with the City of Hope "Spirit of Life" award. He was the first wholesale executive to be voted "Man of the Year" by Food People Publication. He is a graduate of Washburn University, which recognized his business accomplishments in 2007 as the honoree from the School of Business "Alumni Fellow Award."

"John brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to compliment and assist our team. He is a man of integrity that has a proven track record of success as well as exceptional leadership and executive management skills. John has relationships that span the retail, wholesale, food, and industry related suppliers as well as consumer products industries. We are fortunate to have him associated with BioLargo," stated BioLargo President and CEO, Dennis P. Calvert.

widget