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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Biological Control of Arthropod Pests and Weeds

Classical biological control provides a sustainable, green method of controlling invasive pests permanently. The number of such pests increases yearly with each new invasion. The separate objectives in this project address a series of such invaders. The intended outcome of each objective (project) is to safely and permanently lower the density of the pest and avoid the damage it causes. Outcomes will be healthier forests and other natural ecosystems and reduced pesticide use in crops.

Changing the Health Trajectory for Older Adults Through Effective Diet and Activity

While good nutrition and moderate physical activity can promote health and delay disability in older adults, most do not follow dietary recommendations, and fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption remains low. Several studies have indicated that older adults can increase fruit and vegetable intakes through nutrition education. Additional and innovative efforts are needed, however, to make progress toward achieving national guidelines in diverse populations of older adults.

Climate Change: Characterizing Plant Responses to Current and Future Levels of Carbon Dioxide and Ozone

Timothy and alfalfa are important forage crops that are fed to domestic animals. In future climate change, they will be exposed to elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3). We know little about how common varieties of these perennial plants respond to current levels of CO2 and O3. We do not know how cultivars of these plants would respond to future elevated levels of CO2 and O3.Plants will be exposed to current and future levels of CO2 and O3 in greenhouse exposure chambers.

Commercially-Valuable Secondary Metabolite Production Using Hyperthermophiles and Agricultural Waste as a Feedstock

In an effort to reduce dependence on petroleum, promote economic growth and diversification, and reduce human-induced climate change, the United States has developed a strategy that includes bio-based production of energy and compounds that can be used as precursors for industrial processes. It has been suggested that microorganisms with differing physiological capacities may provide an opportunity to generate commercially valuable products in a more sustainable, commercially viable manner.

Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources

The market for specialty foods targeted for Latino populations is especially strong in New England. While most of these foods are imported, many can be locally grown, offering a strong and increasing market for local farmers. We will work to evaluate germplasm of Latin American specialty crops with the objective of identifying parental materials to initiate a breeding program for these crops.

Defective Sperm Functions and Stallion Infertility and Cryopreservation

A male factor is responsible for about half of the cases of equine infertility: this fact highlights the need for a better understanding of the molecular basis of male equine infertility both at the genetic as well as at the biochemical level.This project is relevant for the study of male infertility from several perspectives: 1) results of the experiments will provide a significant advance in understanding at the molecular level the mechanisms of the causes of male infertility.

Detecting and Monitoring Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Waterways

There is concern over the presence of pollutants in our water supply. Among the pollutants that have elicited the greatest alarm are those that can alter the development and reproduction of aquatic organisms and potentially harm human health. These chemicals, generally referred to as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), enter waterways as runoff from farms, effluent from wastewater treatment and manufacturing plants, and leachate from septic systems.

Developing Crambe Abyssinica and Brassica Juncea as Ideal Biofuel Crops via Manipulating Tolerance to Multiple Abiotic Stresses

This project will develop and diversify Crambe (an oilseed crop) and brassica (mustard green) species as dedicated bioenergy crops for biodiesel production. The proposed strategy will increase crop biomass and seed yields while growing these crops on marginal and heavy-metal-contaminated lands, thus increasing both yield and arable acreage. This approach to cultivation on contaminated sites and marginal lands will not create competition for land or displacement of food crops.

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