Jan 12, 2013 20:28 Business Briefs for Jan. 6, 2013 Business Briefs for Jan. 6, 2013 Advocate story Jan. 12, 2013 Comments LSU AgCenter doing oil cleanup research LSU AgCenter scientists are working with researchers at Columbia University and Iowa State University on an environmentally friendly substance that could be used to clean up oil spills. Andy Nyman, an LSU AgCenter wetlands biologist, and Chris Green, an LSU AgCenter toxicologist, are testing the chemical’s toxicity on killifish, a baitfish known more commonly in Louisiana as cocahoe minnows. The $211,000 project is being funded for three years by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico showed a more effective, yet environmentally friendly dispersant was needed, Nyman said in a news release. The research focuses on developing less-toxic materials, called surfactants, which are important ingredients in many household products and in oil spill dispersants. Chemicals are classified as surfactants if they have surface properties that allow them to help oil and water mix. Iowa State researchers are making a new surfactant through a fermentation process using bacteria, soybean wastes and bagasse. Iowa State researchers are working to make the fermentation more efficient, Nyman said, while Columbia researchers are studying the effectiveness of the surfactant’s potential to disperse crude oil. Rice organizations set annual meeting CROWLEY — The Louisiana Rice Council and Louisiana Rice Growers Association will hold their joint annual membership meeting 4:30-7:45 p.m. Thursday at the International Rice Festival Building at 717 W. Mill St. in Crowley. The featured speaker will be Congressman Charles W. Boustany Jr. LARC President Clarence Berken and LARGA President John Owen will provide updates on their organizations’ activities. USA Rice Federation President and CEO Betsy Ward will report on the federation’s activities and promotional achievements and USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Reece Langley will review the status of farm bill reauthorization. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain will address issues of concern to the Louisiana rice industry. The event will begin with a reception and an expanded trade show, followed by the business session, industry reports, dinner and the featured speaker. Energy conference set in New Orleans NEW ORLEANS — The 2013 Louisiana Energy Conference will be held June 19-20 in New Orleans at the Windsor Court Hotel at 300 Gravier St. The conference will feature more than 15 panels. Topics include key domestic and international industry developments and issues. Confirmed participants will be offered an opportunity to register for one-on-one meetings with companies participating on the panels. Company executives will also host dinners and tables at meals during the conference. More than 35 exploration and production companies and oil field service firms are expected to take part in the conference. The conference is aimed at investment professionals,including buy side and sell side analysts and portfolio managers, as well as private equity and wealth management executives and trust officers. The conference website is http://www.louisianaenergy conference.com.