UMass Amherst entomologist Joseph Elkinton and graduate student Monica Davis are featured in a front-page story in The Boston Globe about the oak crypt gall wasp, an insect menace that is killing black oaks in southeastern Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Rhode Island. Elkinton says little is known about the wasps, but he says they pose a severe threat.
News from the Media
Eric Decker, food science, says efforts to get unhealthy trans fats out of the diet of most Americans could have the unintended effect of causing more rainforest to be destroyed to make room for expanded production of palm oil.
A story on the crypt gall wasp, an insect menace that is damaging trees on Cape Cod, notes that Joseph Elkinton, environmental conservation, and his graduate students, are searching for ways to deliver insecticide that will kill the insects.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.