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In order to compete in the marketplace, assure profitability and preserve the environment, cranberry growers must overcome barriers to sustainability. This project has three components related to increased sustainability in Massachusetts cranberry production:

Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station Project MAS00999
Duration: October 2010 - August 2015

Our current ignorance of most of the mechanisms involved in plant iron homeostasis is a major obstacle in devising approaches for biofortification of staple foods with iron. Biofortification refers to the genetic engineering of staple crops to accumulate additional bioavailable iron in edible parts, and is widely regarded as a sustainable means of improving the iron nutrition of the 2-3 billion people worldwide (World Health Organization) whose inadequate diet causes iron deficiency anemia.

We have promising proof-of-concept results with a small cohort of mares and would like to conduct further studies withadditional mares to address the safety and efficacy of this approach. This is a proof of concept project that addresses: a)potential harmful endocrine disruptors; and b) dangerous mare behavior patterns associated with estrus that put horse ridersand handlers at risk; and c) the hypothesis that current inadequacies in equine estrus control need to be revisited.

Soil organic matter acts like a sponge within the soil, retaining water, carbon, and nutrients. It also serves as a source of carbon, or food, and nutrients, like nitrogen, for soil microbes. Because soil microbes demand carbon and nutrients in specific ratios, the quantity of soil organic matter and how nutrient rich it is compared to carbon may determine: how much nitrogen is kept within microbial bodies, how much is held within soil organic matter, and how much is transformed by microbes into a plant-available form for uptake or leaching loss.

Laminitis is a crippling disease that affects about one-percent of the more than nine million horses in North America. The cost of laminitis to the horse industry exceeds $1 billion annually, predominantly from loss of use of the affected animals rather than medical costs. Laminitis results from failure of the digital laminae, which suspend a horse's distal phalanx, and thus the axial skeleton and all that is attached to it, within the hoof capsule. The laminae are composed of a hoof wall-associated epidermal layer and a distal phalanx-associated dermal layer.

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.

Grapes have a high establishment cost of $20-30K/acre and delayed returns during a 3-4 year establishment period. Profitability and sustainability depends upon reliable productivity and resilience to inevitable climate-related injury.


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