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News from the Media

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)

NIFA Grant Funds Study on Anti-inflammatory Benefits of Strawberries
June 18, 2020

Hang Xiao, food science, has received a federal grant to expand his research into the health benefits of strawberries. Xiao and colleagues will aim to identify the mechanism by which whole strawberries affect the gut in positive ways. (Vegetable Growers News, 6/17/20)

UMass Magazine Lists Extension As Gardening Resource
June 16, 2020

UMass magazine publishes article about home gardening, touting extension fact sheets as great resource. (UMass Magazine, summer 2020)


Ohio Gardening Tip Sheet- UMass Extension Resource Mentioned
June 16, 2020

An article in Ohio newspaper offers advice for vegetable gardening and includes a tip sheet from UMass Extension among its list of resources. (Akron Beacon Journal, 6/11/20)

UMass Tick-testing Service Temporarily Halted by Work Furloughs
June 16, 2020

TickReport, UMass Amherst’s tick-testing service, is closed until June 19 because of staff furloughs. Stephen Rich, professor of microbiology and director of the lab, says one can send ticks in after June 19 when they reopen. (MassLive, 6/10/20)