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News from the Media

  • New Method of Weed Control in Cranberry Bogs

    September 16, 2013

    A team of UMass Amherst scientists, including Wesley Autio, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Hilary Sandler, Katherine Ghantous and Peter Jeranyama, all of the UMass Cranberry Station, has designed a new method of weed control in cranberry bogs. They use open flames to get rid of weeds. They say this approach works in certain situations and doesn’t damage the cranberry plants

  • Food Scientist Examines Hydrogel Particles

    September 3, 2013

    A study headed by David Julian McClements, food science, looks at how oil-filled hydrogel particles can be used to significantly reduce the level of fat in food products such as sauces. Using this method doesn’t affect the taste or texture of the food, the study says.

  • Microbiologist Funded by Private Philanthropy

    August 16, 2013

    When UMass Amherst microbiologist James Holden launches new studies next month of the microbes living deep in the cracks and thermal vents around an undersea volcano, for the first time in his 25-year career his deep-sea research will not be funded by a government source. Instead, Holden will be funded by philanthropists committed to supporting oceanographic research.

  • Craker Quoted on Medicinal Marijuana Use

    August 12, 2013

    Lyle Craker, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, is quoted in an article examining the recent endorsement of medicinal marijuana use by CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. For years, Craker has been repeatedly denied permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency to establish a research farm to grow marijuana for medical researchers.

  • Spotted Wing Drosophila Damages Fruit Crops

    August 11, 2013

    Sonia Schloemann, UMass Extension, comments in a story about the spotted wing drosophila, an Asian fruit fly that damages fruit crops such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes and other fruits. She says this insect could be a “game changer” because it damages fruit close to harvest time and reproduces rapidly.

  • On-Farm Bacterial Testing

    August 10, 2013

    Extension Assistant Professor Amanda Kinchla and Assistant Professor Sam Nugen, food science, write a column in which they discuss on-farm bacterial testing as a method of dealing with contamination of fresh food.

  • A Campaign to Grow UMass Farming Site

    April 3, 2014

    As the demand for locally produced food continues to grow, a proposal gaining traction in the Legislature would provide $20 million to help rejuvenate the University of Massachusetts agriculture extension site in Waltham, which has lacked funding for decades. State legislators are in the beginning stages of considering a $1.7 billion environmental bond bill that includes earmarking funds to revitalize the UMass site, which spans 58 acres over two plots along Beaver Street. The project is dubbed the UMass Center for Urban Sustainability.

  • 4-H Group Readies for Fall Events

    August 1, 2013

    The 4-H Pepperell Trailblazers is a horse project club with members ranging in age from 5-18. The club is part of the UMass Extension Animal Science Program.

  • Cape Cod Camp Pairs Military Kids and Horses

    July 23, 2013

    The Cape Cod chapter of the nonprofit Operation Military Kids (OMK), a UMass 4-H project, coordinated by Kerry Bickford of Marstons Mills, discusses benefits of their summer camp that matches up children of military personnel with horses.

  • Reducing Pollution using Horses

    June 2, 2013

    The Stockbridge School of Agriculture has partnered with Blue Star Equiculture, a non-profit horse farm in Palmer that rescues homeless horses, in an effort to help farmers reduce pollution. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded the farm a nearly $200,000 dollar grant to install fences, walking trails and storm water management systems that will help prevent untreated, dirty water from entering the water system.

  • Gardening locally

    April 15, 2013

    John Gerber, Stockbridge School, writes a column where he outlines what he believes are some of the key arguments for growing a large garden and relying on local agriculture.

  • Woolly Adelgid in PA

    April 11, 2013

    Joseph Elkinton, environmental conservation, comments in several news stories about the discovery of the woolly adelgid in Pennsylvania’s historic old growth hemlock forests. The adelgid is an invasive insect that kills the trees. Elkinton says severe cold snaps kill the insect, but as overall temperatures rise, the adelgids will likely expand their territory.

  • Soil Saving Root Ball

    April 10, 2013

    Daniel Lass, resource economics, talks about a new system being used by a local nursery that helps save soil by wrapping tree root balls in a mixture of compost and bark contained in a knit fabric bag. John Kinchla of Amherst Nurseries, a UMass Amherst alumnus, says this system also prevents some problems created by the standard methods used to move and replant trees.

  • Food Waste Ban

    March 17, 2013

    John T. Spargo, UMass Extension, says a proposed ban on food waste in Massachusetts landfills from commercial sources, including hospitals, is unlikely to pose any health threats since potentially harmful microorganisms would be reduced by composting.

  • Raw Milk

    March 12, 2013

    Carrie Sears, UMass Extension, comments in a story about raw milk. She says some people have a negative reaction to consuming it because it isn’t pasteurized and may contain some bacteria.

  • Same Look - New Name

    March 11, 2013

    For hundreds of years, naturalists and scientists have identified new species based on an organism’s visible differences. But now, new genetic techniques are revealing that different species can show little to no visible differences. In a just-published study, evolutionary biologists at UMass Amherst and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) combine traditional morphological tests plus genetic techniques to describe new species. Groups of morphologically similar organisms that show very divergent genetics are generally termed “cryptic species.” Lead authors of an article describing their work with scale insects in the current issue of the journal ZooKeys are AMNH’s Isabelle Vea, Ben Normark of UMass Amherst and Rodger Gwiazdowski, once Normark’s doctoral student and now a postdoctoral research fellow at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Guelph.

  • Omega - 3s

    March 10, 2013

    Eric Decker, food science, says Omega-3 fats decrease mortality and the odds of sudden cardiac arrest in people who have already suffered a heart attack. He says Omega-3s may lower triglyceride levels by as much as 35 percent and studies show that fish oil consumption can reduce risk of depression and dementia.

  • Caffeine Buzz

    March 7, 2013

    Lynn Adler, biology, says the discovery that some plants use caffeine to boost the memory of bees when they drink nectar is exciting news. She also says there are many unknown compounds in nectar that serve some purpose for plants.

  • A Sugary Tradition

    March 6, 2013

    Paul Catanzaro, environmental conservation, says maple sugaring is part of the regional tradition and has become popular not just as a way to make money, but also as a way to connect to nature.

  • Out of Season Tomato Flavor

    March 5, 2013

    Ruth Hazzard, UMass Extension, comments in a story about the many types of small tomatoes that are available at this time of year. She says there are many factors that affect the flavor of the tomatoes, including when they were picked, whether they were vine-ripened and how far they have traveled.

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