EU Science Hub

Science updates

Hydrophobicity of nanoparticles
Dec 14 2018

JRC scientists developed a quantitative method for measuring the surface energy and hydrophobicity of nanomaterials, as the knowledge about hydrophobicity is important when assessing potential risks of chemicals.

Hydrophobicity is an important parameter to determine for the risk assessment of chemicals and in particular of nanomaterials.

Why?

Because hydrophobicity plays a critical role in various biological processes such as:

Histogram on detection of fraudster
histogram on the occurrence frequencies of the first significant digit of a serial fraudster detected in customs data by our two-stage Newcomb-Benford analysis. The frequencies deviate considerably from the theoretical expectations (red curve).
Dec 12 2018

JRC scientists propose a novel application of statistical theory (Newcomb-Benford Law) to detect frauds in international trade.

Have you ever noticed how the first pages of big reference books and tables are more worn and smudged than later pages?

Or how, in certain large sets of data, some numbers start with a certain digit (other than zero) more often than others?

The probability of these events is explained by the Newcomb-Benford Law, or first digit law.

The detection of frauds is one of the most prominent applications of this statistical theory.

A Tale of Two Toxicologies – new book on the history of alternative methods
A Tale of Two Toxicologies – new book on the history of alternative methods
Dec 11 2018

JRC scientists have contributed to the editing and writing of a book on the history of alternative methods in toxicology and chemical safety assessment.

The book presents historical perspectives on the development, validation, acceptance and use of alternatives to animal testing over the past half-century, with an emphasis on humanity and good science, in line with the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement of animal procedures).

Dec 07 2018

The EU Agricultural Outlook for markets and income 2018-2030, published on Thursday, 6 December 2018, presents the EU's annual projections for agricultural commodity markets to 2030, highlighting the importance of technological innovation and the increasing demand for organic products in the EU.

Compiled by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), the EU Agricultural Outlook presents the likely developments of the major EU agricultural commodity markets and agricultural income until 2030.

JRC helps to coordinate more transparency in global matrix reference material production
Dec 06 2018

The JRC hosted a meeting among nine major publicly funded reference material (RM) producers at the JRC-Geel site in Belgium. The aim was to assist in the overall prioritisation of RM production internationally, to avoid duplication, to tackle replacement of running out materials and to identify future needs and trends.

Reference materials (RMs) and certified reference materials (CRMs) are important quality assurance tools for precise and comparable measurements.

Pooling resources to promote the use of alternative methods at the annual conference of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)
Dec 05 2018

The annual conference of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) took place on 20 November 2018 in Brussels. The event showcased recent EPAA achievements and included an expert panel session, with the participation of the JRC, that discussed how new types of safety data derived from alternative methods can be exploited in regulatory decision making.

The JRC coordinated LUCAS 2018 soil component, the largest ever consistent survey of European soils
Dec 05 2018

Today, World Soil Day, by coincidence marks the conclusion of the soil component of Eurostat's 2018 Land Use/Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS), the largest ever consistent survey of European soils. Coordinated by the JRC, the survey aims to assess the condition of soil across the EU and better understand the impacts of pressures arising from how land is used.

ASAP hotspot assessment of 30.11.2018
Dec 03 2018

The November edition of the JRC's Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment shows below-average crop and rangelands performance due to rainfall deficits in East Africa and signs of early main-season dryness in many countries in Southern Africa. The winter cereals season has had a generally good start in North Africa, in the Middle East and in Central Asia.

Main findings of the November global overview:

Potential sites for small-scale hydropower in sub-Saharan Africa
Nov 28 2018

A recently published article co-authored by the JRC develops a new methodology to map the significant potential in sub-Saharan Africa for small-scale hydropower plants, which could provide a feasible solution to electricity provision in off-grid rural areas.

Paradoxically, although Africa is one of the richest global regions in natural resources, it is one of the poorest in terms of energy supply.

Dry conditions in large parts of central Europe presented farmers with the dilemma of whether to sow into the dry soil or delay the sowing of winter crops. Both decisions often resulted in under-developed and gappy crop stands, or no emergence at all.
Nov 27 2018

According to the November issue of the JRC MARS Crop monitoring in Europe Bulletin, published yesterday, large parts of central Europe still experience dry soil conditions. Strong rainfall deficits hampered field preparations and sowing operations, with consequences on plant emergence and early crop development.

The sowing window for rapeseed is now closed. Germany, eastern Poland and northern Czechia are expected to experience significant reduction in rapeseed area.

Soft wheat can still be (re)sown in some countries, albeit not optimally.

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