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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Bee Health

Our plan is to evaluate the role, causative mechanisms, and interaction effects of biotic stressors (i.e. parasitic mites, pests, andpathogens) and abiotic stressors ((i.e. exposure to pesticides, poor habitat and nutrition, management practices) on the survival,health and productivity of honey bee colonies as well as within pollinator communities.  Additionally we plan to develop and recommend "best practices" for beekeepers, growers, land managers and homeowners to promote health of honey bees and pollinator communities.

Development of Sustainable Management Strategies for Large-fruited Hybrid Cranberry Cultivars

Cranberry production has a long history in Massachusetts (MA) that adds important economic and aesthetic value to the region.  About 30% of U.S. acreage and the two largest cranberry handler companies are located in Massachusetts. This crop has the highest farm gate value of any food crop in the Commonwealth, $99.8 million in 2012 (USDA, 2015).

Bursaphelenchus antoniae; Evaluation of Pathogenicity to Several Native American Pinus spp. and Investigation of its Prevalence in Southern New England

Bursaphelenchus antoniae, a species of nematode associated with pine weevils and maritime pine, was first described in 2006 in Leiria, north-western Portugal. The nematode has evolved with the pine weevil, and the pine weevil carries the nematode to dead and dying trees where the weevil lays its eggs. During egg laying, the nematode leaves the weevil and invades the tree where it feeds on fungi that have colonized the tree internally. Inoculations in Portugal with B. antoniae showed that this nematode was not pathogenic to maritime pine, a pine native to Portugal.

Advertising, Price Competition, and Entry in Concentrated Industries

The food industry is being transformed by two important changes. It has recently been characterized by rising concentration, partly due to a number of large mergers since the beginning of the new millennium.[1] In addition, the advent of the internet is affecting the source of advertising and the method of purchase for many food products. Firms in the industry must devise strategies to adapt to and capitalize on these changes that have the potential to affect market structure and performance.

Private and Public Strategies to Promote Consumer Health: Impacts on Welfare and the Food Supply Chain

The food industry is under transformation due to some important changes in consumer preferences. With a trend towards a healthier lifestyle, food quality, nutrition, and safety are increasingly important to consumers today. There is an increasing demand for more information about the nutritional content of food, for food considered healthy and health-enhancing. However, at the same time, obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise and so do health care costs as a result.

Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety

The diverticulated crop organ of the common house fly, which is the major insect vector of numerous human food pathogens (e.g., Escherichia coli) is the major reservoir or storage area for this, and other, important food pathogens. It has also been demonstrated that this is where horizontal transmission of antibiotic resistance to E. coli occurs. Thus, the diverticulated crop organ is an essential component in the transmission cycle between pathogens and human foods/food crops.

Enhancing Microbial Food Safety by Risk Analysis

The results of this project will directly impact industries that handle foods most commonly implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks, including low-moisture foods (especially spices, nuts, and dried fruits); fresh, minimally, and shelf-stable processed produce; dairy; fresh and further processed seafood, meat, and poultry products (including fully cooked and ready-to-eat products subject to post-process contamination), as well as other multi-component and processed foods.

Molecular Characterization of Plant-microbe Interactions

Plant diseases cause crop loss, reduce food production and threaten global food security (Savary et al., 2012). Focusing on two distinct pathosystems that cause Fusarium vascular wilts and the Basil downy mildew (BDM), respectively, we propose to establish a pipeline to dissect host-pathogen interactions and provide novel means to develop disease resistant cultivars in order to manage plant diseases that threaten food security. Fusarium oxysporum species complex can cause vascular wilt on over 100 cultivated plant species (Beckman 1987, Moore et al.

Terpenoid Biosynthesis in Sclerotinia homoeocarpa

Natural products have a long history of providing novel compounds either directly or as lead compounds for human therapeutics, nutrition and agricultural applications. Fungal diversity has evolved over 900 million years and concurrent with this evolution is diversification of the natural product chemistry resulting in an impressive array of compounds known as specialized metabolites.

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