Technology in cranberry farming has come a long way in just a handful of years. Hillary Sandler, director of the Cranberry Station at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explains how drones, lasers and smartphones are used to grow and harvest cranberries. (WUMW 11/23/17)
News from the Media
Antimicrobial compounds added to preserve food during storage are believed to be benign and non-toxic to the consumer, but there is “a critical scientific gap in understanding the potential interactions” they may have with the hundreds of species of microbes in our intestines, say David Sela, a nutritional microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues. (Globe, 12/20/17; Technology Networks, 12/19/17; News Office release)
Tracy Allen, chemist and supervisor, UMass Soil Laboratory, discusses soil samples the lab tests for and amendment recommendations made across the country. (Gazette 12/15/17)
Rich says the biggest health threat from mosquitoes is the spread of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is very rare but untreatable and often fatal. (Gazette 12/13/17)
This year, the balmy weather has scrambled the classic autumn script.
As a result, some tree species, particularly Norway maple, oak, and pear, are “not giving up the ghost in terms of winding up the growing season,” said Richard W. Harper, extension assistant professor of urban forestry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Globe 12/8/17)
University of Massachusetts professor, Prashant Shenoy, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of his “efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” Professor Shenoy is the Principal Investigator of the Massachusetts Energy Extension Initiative. (Gazette 12/5/17, News Office 11/20/17)
According to Richard Harper, professor in the Environmental Conservation department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, warmer nights can certainly delay and even mute the color of fall leaves. (Crain's New York Business 11/7/17)
Tracy Allen, supervisor, UMass Soil Laboratory, explains that soil properties are not going to change much in the winter because soil processes slow way down in the cold, so soil test results and recommendations that offered this fall will be accurate and useful for the whole growing season in your garden next year.
In the spring, the lab is deluged with requests and that can cause a backlog. "It could take twice as long to get your results back and that is valuable time in the planting season," Allen said. (MassLive 11/1/17, News Office 11/1/17, Recorder 11/4/17)
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, led by Lili He, Ph.D., found a baking soda and water combination was the most effective way to reduce pesticides on apple skins. (Agriculture and Food Chemistry, International Business Times, Mother Nature Network 10/30/17, Chemical and Engineering News 11/3/17, Healthline 11/8/17, NY Times 11/10/17, Well and Good, 11/13/17, Emax Health 11/30/17)
A team of environmental chemists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by Baoshan Xing, report that triclosan, an antibacterial agent in some over-the-counter toothpastes, accumulates in toothbrush bristles and is easily released in the mouth if the user switches toothpaste types. (Chem Info; Boston Globe; News Office, Time magazine, Infection Control Today, Science Codex, Health Day, Chemcial & Engineering News, UPI 10/25/17 )