AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst food science researcher Sam Nugen is one of two winners of the 2015 Future Leaders Award from the International Life Sciences Institute’s (ILSI) North America division, for developing methods of engineering viruses to rapidly detect and separate microbial contaminants from food. (5/27/15 UMass Press Release)
News from the Media
UMass Amherst Food Scientist Wins International Award for Rapid Pathogen Detection in FoodMay 27, 2015
Editorial: Buzz Surrounding Pollinators in Peril: UMass Researchers ReferencedMay 26, 2015
Complex roles of dietary fats and oils in health and innovation explored by Eric Decker, UMass, ProfessorMay 20, 2015
Are dietary fats and oils really good for us after all? And if so, what types and how much should we consume to achieve a health benefit? How realistic is the dietary advice about fats and oils? These questions and more are discussed in a scientific supplement published in the peer-reviewed journal, Advances in Nutrition. (5/18/15 Medical News Today)
Lone star tick the new pest in town, UMass microbiologist discoversMay 18, 2015
BARNSTABLE — Imagine a tick that travels three times as fast as the black-legged deer tick, has excellent vision and hatches in stinging swarms that can put fire ants to shame. The arthropod in question is the lone star tick, which scientists say has meandered northward and established a foothold at Sandy Neck Beach Park in Barnstable and Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands chain.
“It’s pretty clear that the lone star ticks are established (at Sandy Neck) now,” said Stephen Rich, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is finishing a year’s sabbatical on the Cape. (5/8/15 Cape Cod Times)
Massachusetts students join the fight to save the planetMay 18, 2015
BELCHERTOWN – A cloudless sky, light breeze and the distinctive “teacher, teacher, teacher” song of the ovenbird welcomed some 260 students from 31 high schools across the state to Quabbin Reservoir last Friday morning for the 2015 Massachusetts Envirothon.
The picture perfect day for the environmental competition in no way diminished the fervor with which teams from Springfield to Sandwich tackled this year’s current issue: climate change, its impact on local cities and towns, and measures to counter it.
In opening remarks, Will Snyder, UMass Extension and chairman of the Mass. Envirothon Steering Committee, cited climate change as the greatest environmental challenge ever to face humanity, and one where results are measured a step at a time rather than an overall solution. 5/18/15 Worcester Telegram)
Massachusetts Envirothon Takes on Issue of Climate ChangeMay 13, 2015
Some 250 high school students from across the state will gather at the Quabbin Reservoir Thursday, May 14, to participate in a unique competition that will test their environmental knowledge, field work, problem-solving abilities and communication skills, as they take part in the 28th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. (Hampshire Gazette 5/13/15)
Massachusetts Dedicates No Money to Lyme Disease Prevention, UMass Laboratory Director CommentsMay 13, 2015
The predawn rumble of pesticide-spraying trucks is a rite of spring in almost 200 Massachusetts communities. Some $11 million is spent in the state each year controlling and counting the pests and educating residents about how to avoid contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.
Yet no state funds are dedicated to tick-borne diseases, one of which, Lyme, infects at least 5,500 residents a year in Massachusetts and likely many more. (NECN 5/11/15)
UMass Amherst study shows ‘hydropeaking’ can reduce downstream river flowsMarch 31, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – In the first-of-its-kind study of the environmental effects of hydropeaking, that is releasing water at hydropower dams to meet peak daily electricity demand, two University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers say their unexpected findings suggest that about 10 percent of released water may be permanently lost, making that water unavailable to downstream users and wildlife. Hydrogeologist Brian Yellen says, “The most interesting thing we found is something we weren’t looking for. That is, in this 13-mile stretch of the river, about 10 percent of water released from the dam every day gets pushed into the aquifer and is lost permanently.” (3/31/15 UMass Press Release)
UMass Amherst students win ice cream flavor contest with 'Cherry Bomb'April 30, 2015
Forget the No. 2 pencil, UMass students took this final exam with a spoon -- mouthful after mouthful of delicious ice cream. Welcome to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's "scooperbowl", where teams of food sciences majors, mostly seniors set to graduate in a few weeks, submit the flavors they have developed all semester as part of assistant professor Sam Nugen's food science class to a panel of experts and to an assembled throng of hungry students. (April 30, 2015, MassLive)
‘No smoking gun’: Pipeline environmental impact report cite positives, negatives of routeApril 22, 2015
A new, detailed report on the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline route through western Massachusetts points to its impact on protected open space dedicated to agriculture and conservation, and especially on Franklin County’s primary habitat for rare species habitat, wetlands wildlife habitat and communities of biodiversity. (4/22/15 The Recorder; 5/13/15 Hampshire Gazette)
It’s tick time: Stephen Rich, UMass professor offers adviceApril 28, 2015
Northampton, MA--Spring has sprung, baseball season’s first pitch has been thrown, April’s rains have been falling, and the ticks are back. Even if you can’t see them. Just ask Michael Noonan of Florence. On a Thursday, a couple of weeks ago, Noonan, 62, noticed a red spot the size of a half dollar on the inside of his elbow, with a small dot in the center. The dot was a deer tick. His wife removed it with a pair of tweezers.
“It looked like a little piece of wood,” Noonan said, “except it was moving.” His arm had been hurting all week — since cleaning up leaves in his driveway on Sunday — but Noonan figured he had a spider bite and didn’t think much of it until his wife did some online research. (4/27/15 Hampshire Gazette)
Downtown Springfield features urban designs created by UMass studentsApril 23, 2015
SPRINGFIELD, Mass — Every day pedestrians, drivers and bike and bus riders cruise through downtown Springfield often overlooking abandoned buildings or small side streets, each with a story to tell.
Students from the University of Massachusetts Graduate Urban Design Studio have staged six installations throughout downtown Springfield all using tactical urbanism, an emergent form of urban design that looks at new ways to enliven cities with temporary interventions that are inexpensive and easy to install, according to Frank Sleegers and Michael Di Pasquale, urban design professors at University of Massachusetts Amherst. (The Reminder, MassLive 4/23/15)
UMass Amherst Food Scientist Wins National Award, FellowshipsApril 16, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – David Julian McClements, professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an internationally recognized expert in the encapsulation and delivery of bioactive components, recently was honored with the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) Babcock-Hart Award for contributions to food technology that result in improved public health through nutrition. (4/16/2015 News Office Release)
UMass Food Scientist, David Sela, Studies Human Milk for Healthy MicrobesApril 14, 2015
Breast milk seems like a simple nutritious cocktail for feeding babies, but it is so much more than that. It also contains nutrients that feed the beneficial bacteria in a baby’s gut, and it contains substances that can change a baby’s behaviour. So, when a mother breastfeeds her child, she isn’t just feeding it. She is also building a world inside it and simultaneously manipulating it.
To Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University who specialises in milk, these acts are all connected. She suspects that substances in milk, by shaping the community of microbes in a baby’s gut, can affect its behaviour in ways that ultimately benefit the mother. It’s a thought-provoking and thus far untested hypothesis, but it’s not far-fetched. Together with graduate student Cary Allen-Blevins and David Sela, a food scientist at the University of Massachussetts, Hinde has laid out her ideas in a paper that fuses neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and microbiology. (National Geographic 4/8/15)
UMass Amherst scientist and international team document songbird's migrationApril 13, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – For more than 50 years, scientists had tantalizing clues suggesting that a tiny, boreal forest songbird known as the blackpoll warbler departs each fall from New England and eastern Canada to migrate nonstop in a direct line over the Atlantic Ocean toward South America, but proof was hard to come by.
Now, for the first time an international team of biologists report “irrefutable evidence” that the birds complete a nonstop flight ranging from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days, making landfall somewhere in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the islands known as the Greater Antilles, from there going on to northern Venezuela and Columbia.
First author Bill DeLuca, an environmental conservation research fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at the University of Guelph, Ontario, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and other institutions, says, “For small songbirds, we are only just now beginning to understand the migratory routes that connect temperate breeding grounds to tropical wintering areas. (4/14/15 PRI; 4/10/15 Deccan Chronicle; 4/1/15 News Office)
UMass Amherst Food Scientist Honored for Work with Edible OilsApril 2, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – The American Oil Chemists’ Society has honored University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist Yeonhwa Park with the Timothy L. Mounts Award for her “significant and important contributions in the area of bioactive lipids and their impact on health conditions such as obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.”
A recognized international expert in edible oil applications and health and nutrition of lipids, Park will receive a plaque, a $750 honorarium and will deliver the award lecture, “Conjugated Linoleic Acid: 30-year Research,” at the AOCS annual meeting in Orlando in May. The AOCS announced Park’s honor and other award winners this week in its member magazine, Inform. (4/2/15 News Office Release)
Million Dollar QuestionMarch 18, 2015
It’s difficult to predict the impact this winter will have on dollar spot pressure. Experts, including Dr. Geunhwa Jung, associate professor of turfgrass pathology at the University of Massachusetts, helps provide insight in order to control this costly turf pathogen. (Golf Course Industry, 3/17/15)
Non-native Plants in U.S.: Widespread, and Plenty of Space to InvadeMarch 12, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – A new study, the first comprehensive assessment of native vs. non-native plant distribution in the continental United States, finds non-native plant species are much more widespread than natives, a finding that lead author Bethany Bradley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst called “very surprising.” ( Croplife.com 3/11/15; News Office Release)
Disease guide: A head start on healthy turfMarch 11, 2015
Amherst, Mass--M. Bess Dicklow, recently retired extension plant pathology specialist, reports on Northeast turf issues. Across the country, the first months of the calendar year offer a slower pace for green industry businesses (unless you’re plowing, of course). But now is the time to keep disease on the radar. There’s no real hibernation in landscaping. Diseases crop sooner than you might think.Here is your guide to weed and disease issues for the first quarter of 2015. (3/10/15 Lawn & Landscape)
'Nature's Medicine Cabinet' helps bees reduce disease load says Lynn Adler, Evolutionary EcologistFebruary 18, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – Researchers studying the interaction between plants, pollinators and parasites report that in recent experiments, bees infected with a common intestinal parasite had reduced parasite levels in their guts after seven days if the bees also consumed natural toxins present in plant nectar.
In this early and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Dartmouth College studied hundreds of eastern bumblebees, Bombus impatiens, and their intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi, using eight separate toxic chemicals known as secondary metabolites produced by plants to protect themselves against predators.
They found that toxic chemicals in nectar reduced infection levels of the common bumblebee parasite by as much as 81 percent by seven days after infection. UMass Amherst evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler says, “We found that eating some of these compounds reduced pathogen load in the bumblebee’s gut, which not only may help the individual bees, but likely reduced the pathogen Crithidia spore load in their feces, which in turn should lead to a lower likelihood of transmitting the disease to other bees. (UPI.com, 2/18/15; Entomology Today, 2/18/15; Science Newsline,2/18/15;ChinaTopix.com, 2/18/15;The Independent [U.K.], 2/18/15; Phys.org, 2/17/15; News Office release, 2/18/15)