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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Developing Quality Chinese Medicinal Herb Production in the Northeast

"Increased consumer interest in complementary and alternative healthcare in the United States has led to rapid growth in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) in the Northeast. As part of their patient care, AOM practitioners frequently prescribe Chinese medicinal herbs (CMH), nearly all of which are imported. These imports currently face questions regarding quality and purity. Local production of CMH represents an opportunity for growers to produce cash crops for an untapped market and to provide of safe, secure, and quality herbs for AOM practitioners.

Development of a Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Method for Rapid Diagnosis of Avian and Animal Chlamydiosis

Chlamydiae are implicated in a variety of clinically and economically important diseases in livestock and companion animals. These bacteria are associated with abortion, conjunctivitis, encephalomyelitis, enteritis, pneumonia, and polyarthritis in ruminants. Infection with these bacteria is the most common cause of abortion in sheep and goats and also causes zoonotic infection in humans which, in pregnant women, can result in spontaneous abortion.

Development of Food Grade Delivery Systems to Encapsulate, Protect and Release Bioactive Food Lipids

Some food oils, such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids, are nutritionally beneficial and yet largely under-consumed in the United States. These oils can be very unstable causing the formation of strong off-flavors that result in consumer rejection of omega-3 fortified food products. This project will develop new technologies that can stabilize omega-3 fatty acids so they can be incorporated into a wide variety of foods. Production of omega-3 fatty acids fortified foods could have significant consumer health benefits especially for heart and mental health.

Development of More Sustainable Disease Management Tactics for Apple Production in the Northeast

Apples are a high value crop in Massachusetts and in the entire Northeastern United States, with an annual farm-gate value of $11.6 million and $550 million, respectively, in 2008. Nearly 100,000 acres are devoted to apples in the Northeast, with 4,000 of those in Massachusetts. Apples in the Northeast are attacked by dozens of pests, both arthropods and diseases, and, as a result, apple production is one of the crops listed in the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list - a list of the fruits and vegetables that on average use the most pesticides in their production.

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.

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