Animal health is of great importance, in agricultural, food security, general economic and public health terms. The diseases thatour lab investigates (e.g. tuberculosis, anaplasmosis, Johne's disease, leptospirosis, and porcine reproductive and respiratorysyndrome virus (PRRSV)) cause billions of dollars in losses to U.S. agricultural producers. In addition, tuberculosis,anaplasmosis, leptospirosis and Johne's disease are zoonotic diseases, in which animals can serve as reservoirs and vectors ofoften fatal disease for humans.
Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station
As the global human population continues to grow and climate change alters weather patterns and intensifies stress on agricultural systems, we need to find new ways to sustainably increase production agriculture. We focus on grasslands because they are important for global food stability and as a vast ecosystem (66% of agricultural areas are grass lands) have serious global climate implications.
A focal species of this work is the widespread invasive biennial plant, Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) which disrupts nativeplant-fungal interactions in Northeastern deciduous forests of North America. Unique plant chemicals exuded by the roots ofgarlic mustard disrupt symbioses between native plants and mycorrhizal fungi that live on their roots (Stinson et al., 2006), alterthe diversity and composition of the soil microbiome (Barto et al., 2012; Anthony et al.
Water is an increasingly scarce resource for agriculture thus engineering plants that use water efficiently is a primary goal forscientists. A recent approach in achieving water-efficient crops is to breed or engineer plants that can rapidly open and close their stomata in changing environments (Lawson and Blatt 2014, Raven 2014). During the day, plants may become shaded or enjoy a sudden but transient increase in sunlight as sun angles change (or are reflected) or as clouds and/or other obstacles block the sun.
Producing shelf-stable acidified canned foods can help to add value to produce and introduce new markets, extend the agricultural season, and reduce waste. However, to successfully sell and distribute shelf-stable products, such as salsas, sauces, and/or acidified pickled products, processors must comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR114).
Many small and medium producers and processors are affected by the recent implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulation as the existing training does not address how to determine compliance and assumes that small and medium food processors (SMPs) begin training with a base level of food safety knowledge that many SMPs do not have. This project develops accessible, scale-appropriate, motivational mixed-media content to provide SMPs with the information they need to better understand how to implement Preventive Controls (PC) in their food businesses.
The safety of the food supply is a continuing issue for agriculture, with an estimated 81 million instances of foodborne illnesses in the USA annually, with an estimated cost of $152 billion dollars per year to the US economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 46% of these illnesses were due to produce - thus food safety is very much an agricultural issue.