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News from the Media

  • 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.

  • Medicinal Marijuana

    February 21, 2013

    Lyle Craker, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, is interviewed about his more than a decade-long battle with federal authorities to secure permission to grow marijuana so he can study its medicinal effects.

  • Reduced-Fat Food Emulsions

    February 20, 2013

    New research conducted by Julian McClements, food science, and Cheryl Chung, a postdoctoral associate, looks into major factors that influence the formulation of high quality reduced-fat food emulsions.

  • New Malaria Treatment

    February 10, 2013

    Stephen M. Rich, microbiology and director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, has led a research team who report a promising new low-cost combined therapy with a much higher chance of outwitting P. falciparum, the mosquito-borne parasite which causes the deadliest form of malaria than current modes. He and plant biochemist Pamela Weathers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), with research physician Doug Golenbock at the UMass Medical School, also in Worcester, have designed an approach for treating malaria based on a new use of Artemisia annua, a plant employed for thousands of years in Asia to treat fever.

  • Tick-Borne Illness Discovered

    January 17, 2013

    Stephen Rich, microbiology and director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, comments in a story about a new and as-yet unnamed tick-borne illness that has been discovered on Nantucket. He says ticks contain more than 250 bacteria, any one of which could cause disease.

  • Winter Moth Control

    December 13, 2012

    Joseph Elkinton of UMass Extension, talks about how scientists are trying to control the winter moth by using another insect that feeds on the moths. Winter moths are considered a menace because in areas where they exist in large numbers they defoliate trees.

  • Winter Moth Emergence

    December 9, 2012

    Joseph Elkinton of UMass Extension, discusses the emergence of winter moths in part of Massachusetts. He says scientists think the weather prompts the emergence of the insects.

  • Cigarettes Line Bird nests

    December 5, 2012

    Paige Warren of the Department of Environmental Conservation, says new findings that birds that line their nests with cigarette butts prevent pests such as mites.

  • Hard Cider

    October 26, 2012

    Duane Greene, comments in a story about a local company that makes and sells hard cider.

  • A Great Year for Pumpkins

    October 15, 2012

    Ruth V. Hazzard, UMass Extension, says this year’s pumpkin crop is turning out to be excellent and high quality.

  • Emerald Ash Borer: Not so Boring!

    October 9, 2012

    Robert Childs is interviewed  for the “Connecting Point” program about the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has been discovered in trees in the Berkshires. The borer is a destructive insect that is moving into the region from the Mid West where it was first discovered.

  • Ethnic Crops Rising

    August 28, 2012

    The Ethnic Crops Program is growing and selling dozens of crops popular among many ethnic groups to markets across the state and has added chipilín, a leafy green loved by Latinos. Frank Mangan, director of the ethnic crops initiative at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture, says farms in Methuen, Dracut, Lancaster and Amesbury shipped 2,000 pounds of chipilín in recent weeks to the Boston area, where the fresh, locally grown greens are snapped up by people hungry for familiar vegetables and produce.

  • Looking like a Washout? Foliage Forecasters Say Weather May Take a Little Bright Out of Fall Display

    Rick Harper, professor of urban forestry at the University of Massachusetts Extension, said everything can change with a few cold nights. “I don’t put a lot of stock in the forecasts,” he said.