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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Development of Real-time PCR Methodology for the Rapid Enumeration of Low numbers of Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7 in Ground Beef and Raw Vegetables Without Enrichment

There is a critical need in the meat processing and raw vegetable processing industries for the development of a rapid method for detection of infectious bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in such products well before shipping, so as to prevent infectious outbreaks and costly recalls.

DNA Data Capture from Armored Scale Insect Specimens Intercepted in Plant Quarantine

Armored scale insects include many destructive pests of orchard crops, forestry, horticulture, and agriculture, costing an estimated two billion dollars per year in the US. They also have an extraordinary tendency to be invasive. As of 2005, the US had 132 species of armored scale insects introduced from other countries, comprising fully 40% of armored scale species in the US. Most of these (64%) were considered pests. About one new invasive diaspidid species is detected in the U.S. every year.

Dormancy Release and Apical Dominance in Postharvest Potato: The Role of Auxin and Programmed Cell Death in Sprouting Induction

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is an important crop in the United States and approximately 38,000 tons were produced in Massachusetts in 2006, with a value of $7.5M (National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA). About 92-percent of the Massachusetts crop is consumed fresh or marketed as processed products, while 8-percent is re-used as seed tubers. Tuber sprouting during storage, caused by dormancy release of tuber buds, leads to undesirable loss of weight, turgidity and texture alterations.

Economic Experiments on the Defense of Common Pool Resources

This project aims to design and conduct economic laboratory experiments to investigate behavioral issues related to the defense of common pool resources from encroachment by outsiders. Common pool resources are assets -- often natural assets such as forests, fisheries and water supplies --t hat are managed by a group of users. These resources are prone to inefficient use because individuals tend toward over-exploitation relative to what would maximize the welfare of the group.

Economics of Individual and Collective Preparedness for Unpredictable, Global Threats in Population, Food and the Environment

This project focuses on the economics of coping with decision environment anomalies through preparedness. Approaches to decision making in the presence of global anomalies and the economic implications for individual and collective preparedness will be investigated.

Effect of Drought,Temperature, and Insect Resistant Turfgrass Cultivars on Pesticide-Laden Runoff from Vegetative Filter Strips

The sustainability of water resources and of green spaces will become increasingly important for quality of life in the future. The efficient utilization of turfgrasses to remediate organic pollutants in these efforts can be an important component of a sustainability strategy. Research has established that significant differences exist between plants in their remediation abilities: different abilities of plants to adsorb and absorb pollutants; different exudates being released from the root systems; and different microbial populations associated with roots of different plants.

Effects of Catch and Release Angling on the Physiology, Behavior and Survival of Striped Bass: Implications for Conservation and Management

Recreational angling is a popular leisure activity for residents and visitors in Massachusetts, with one of the most sought after species being striped bass. Many of the striped bass are released following capture because of regulations and a growing conservation ethic among anglers, however little is known about how stresses associated with the capture event impacts behavior and survival.

Effects of Common Pesticides and Chemicals on Mitochondrial Function

Mitochondria are critical for production of ATP, the energy currency of a cell, but glucose utilization varies greatly among cell types. Inherited mitochondrial disorders affect neural tissues most prominently revealing the vulnerability of these tissues. In mice, prolonged exposure to mitochondrial toxins can lead to symptoms that mimic Parkinson's disease. The mammary gland is a tissue that, in its resting state, has relatively modest energy requirements.

Effects of Fuels Reduction and Habitat Restoration on Native Bee Communities in Massachusetts Pitch-Pine Scrub Oak Barrens

Pitch pine-scrub oak barrens are a globally threatened, fire-dependent habitat that harbor numerous declining, rare, or imperiled plant and animal species. Threats to barrens include development, fragmentation, and fire exclusion which have reduced the extent of barrens communities to 10% of their original extent in western Massachusetts. Pitch pine-scrub oak (PPSO) forests are a significant contributor to the biodiversity of the Northeast.

Effects of Rotenone, a Commonly-Used Organic Pesticide on Mitochondrial Complex 1 Function and Altered Immune Responses

Mitochondria are cellular organelles which are often referred to as the "powerhouse" of the cell. Their many functions include generating the chemical energy utilized by cells, as well as roles in cell signaling, differentiation, cell growth and even cell death. It has been shown that chronic exposures to organic pesticides such as Rotenone, which inhibits mitochondrial function, can result in pathological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

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