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News from the Media

4-H Programs Go Virtual During Pandemic
August 17, 2020

Young people across Hampden County have not let the coronavirus pandemic stop them from participating in 4-H programs this year. “Western Massachusetts 4-H has not missed a beat in this pandemic,” said Tom Waskiewicz, a Western Massachusetts 4-H educator. (Westfield News 8/17/20)

Nature Blossoms in Our Retreat
August 10, 2020

Christine Hatch, extension associate professor of geosciences, has written a column about nature’s resurgence while humans have been quarantined due to COVID-19. (Gazette, 8/8/20)

Developing a Quicker, Safer Method of Cleaning Peanut Butter Factories
August 5, 2020

Lynne McLandsborough, University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist, has received a grant from the USDA to develop an oil-based system to clean and sanitize food processing equipment without water, reducing the high risk for Salmonella contamination associated with nuts. (Food Safety Magazine, News Medical Life Sciences, 8/5/20;Sound Health and Lasting Wealth, 8/4/20; News Office release)

Gardening Lessons in a Time of Pandemic
August 4, 2020

Responding to renewed interest in backyard vegetable gardening, a team at the Stockbridge School and UMass Extension has launched a series of how-to articles avaialble on the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment website. (The Sun Chronicle [Attleboro], 8/4/20)

Unsolicited Mystery Seeds Mailed to Local Residents
July 30, 2020

Amanda Bayer, extension assistant professor in the Stockbridge School, comments on mysterious seeds received in the mail by a Shutesbury resident. This appears to be part of national phenomenon of people receiving unsolicited and unlabeled seeds. (Western Mass News, 7/29/20)

Eating Moldy Food, UMass Scientist Discusses Food Safety
July 15, 2020

John Gibbons, food science, is interviewed in an article about allegedly moldy jam sold by a high-end Los Angeles restaurant.  He discusses what mold is, how it grows on food, and whether it’s safe to eat. (Grub Street, 7/14/20)

Mosquito Season Discussed by UMass Professor Rich
July 13, 2020

Stephen Rich, microbiology and director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, is quoted in a report about mosquitos in Western Massachusetts and concerns about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).  (Republican 7/13/20)

Common Food Additive Causes Adverse Health Effects in Mice
July 8, 2020

A common food additive, recently banned in France but allowed in the U.S. and many other countries, was found to significantly alter gut microbiota in mice, causing inflammation in the colon and changes in protein expression in the liver, according to research led by Hang Xiao, UMass food science. "I think our results have a lot of implications in the food industry and on human health and nutrition," he said. ( 7/26/20; 7/21/20;;, 6/25/20; News Office release)  

UMass Researchers Helped Develop WattScale
July 8, 2020

Researchers including faculty members David Irwin, Prashan Shenoy, engineering, and Benjamin Weil, environmental conservation, have developed WattScale, an open-source AI tool that identifies energy-wasting homes. (VentureBeat, 7/7/20)

Nanoplastics Can Build up in Plants and Stunt Growth, Xing Discovers
June 23, 2020

Research by Baoshan Xing, environmental and soil chemistry, and colleagues in China, is showing direct evidence that nanoplastics can accumulate in land plants. Xing says, “Plant accumulation of nanoplastics can have both direct ecological effects and implications for agricultural sustainability and food safety.”  (BioplasticsNews 7/6/20; Technology Networks, 6/24/20; iCrowdNewswire, 6/23/20  Environmental News Network, ScienceDaily, 6/22/20;  News Office release)