Farms Must Report Pig Infections
The federal government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the U.S. last year.
The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, believed to be from China, causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, who die from dehydration.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/farms-must-report-pig-infections
Martian Soils May Yield Fruit
The soil on Mars may be suitable for cultivating food crops – this is the prognosis of a study by plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen Univ. & Research Centre. This would prove highly practical if we ever decide to send people on a one-way trip to the red planet. After all, if we are going to live anywhere in outer space in the future Mars stands a good chance of being the place.
In a unique pilot experiment Wamelink tested the growth of 14 plant varieties on artificial Mars soil over 50 days. NASA composed the soil based on the volcanic soil of Hawaii. To his surprise, the plants grew well; some even blossomed.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/martian-soils-may-yield-fruit
Fracking Discussed at Alcohol Summit
New York’s alcoholic beverage industry was on display at a summit this week organized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to focus on bolstering the business. Cuomo said that New York is home to more than 600 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries and ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production.
New York’s alcoholic beverage industry employed 85,000 people and the combination of manufacturing, agriculture, distribution and retail had an economic impact of $27 billion in 2012, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association and New York Wine and Grape Foundation.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fracking-discussed-alcohol-summit
Find May Simplify Genetic Modification of Plants
A recent discovery could lead to easier genetic modification of plant varieties considered recalcitrant to standard methods, including varieties of economically important crops.
A Purdue Univ. research team identified a gene that influences susceptibility to infection by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a bacterium that is used as a tool to insert genes into plants to produce traits such as resistance to pests, diseases or harsh environmental conditions or to improve the nutrition or shelf life of a crop.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/03/find-may-simplify-genetic-modification-plants
Tool Unlocks Secrets of Grape Growth
Univ. of Adelaide researchers have developed a new web-based tool to help unlock the complex genetics and biological processes behind grapevine development.
Published in the journal BMC Genomics, the researchers describe their online database that can be used to examine how almost 30,000 genes work together in groups and networks to produce the vine and its grapes.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/tool-unlocks-secrets-grape-growth
Researchers Convert Sugarcane to Cold-tolerant, Oil-producing Crop
A multi-institutional team reports that it can increase sugarcane’s geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production.
These are only the first steps in a bigger initiative that will turn sugarcane and sorghum – two of the most productive crop plants known – into even more productive, oil-generating plants.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/researchers-convert-sugarcane-cold-tolerant-oil-producing-crop
Co-products from Human Food Industry Can Benefit Pigs
Co-products from the human food industry offer a lower-cost alternative to cereal grains in diets fed to pigs. Research at the Univ. of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is helping to determine the nutritional value of these ingredients so that producers can make informed choices about incorporating them into swine diets, says Hans Stein, a U of I animal science researcher.
Researchers led by Stein conducted two experiments using corn and corn co-products. In the first experiment, they measured the concentrations of digestible and metabolizable energy in distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), hominy feed, bakery meal, corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed and corn germ meal. In the second experiment, they determined the standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in pigs fed diets containing these ingredients without or with the addition of microbial phytase.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/co-products-human-food-industry-can-benefit-pigs
Wildfires May Degrade Air Quality, Health in the Future
As the American West, parched by prolonged drought, braces for a season of potentially record-breaking wildfires, new research suggests these events not only pose an immediate threat to people’s safety and their homes, but also could take a toll on human health, agriculture and ecosystems. The study, appearing in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology, could help societies map out a plan to mitigate these effects in wildfire-prone regions.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/wildfires-may-degrade-air-quality-health-future
Improper use of Biocides is Public Health Concern
Biocides used in the food industry at sublethal doses may be endangering, rather than protecting, public health by increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria and enhancing their ability to form harmful biofilms, according to a study published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, published by the American Society for Microbiology. This is among the first studies to examine the latter phenomenon.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/improper-use-biocides-public-health-concern
Optical Technique Sorts Wine Grapes
A team of German scientists has developed an automated process that sorts grapes into different levels of quality for winemaking. The goal of developing the technique is to produce wines that will satisfy refined palates but cost less than current prices.
While it’s not ready for full-scale use for this year’s harvest, the scientists plan to have the “Grape Sort” technology ready by the fall of 2014. The process relies on optical technology that recognizes the colors of individual grapes. Different colors correspond to different amounts of sugar in the grapes, a basic criterion for their wine-making characteristics.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/optical-technique-sorts-wine-grapes
EU Execs Back GM Maize Despite Objections
The European Union’s executive Commission is backing plans to cultivate a genetically modified maize despite the objections of environmental groups that consider it dangerous.
Today’s approval now sends the plans to approve Maize 1507 to the EU’s 28 member nations for consideration and could lead to a decision on the issue as soon as next month.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/11/eu-execs-back-gm-maize-despite-objections
Nitrogen Rates Affect Micronutrient Uptake, Storage in Corn
A Purdue Univ. study shows that high-yielding, modern corn hybrids take up not only more nitrogen from soil but more micronutrients such as zinc, iron, manganese and copper. Nitrogen fertilizer rates influence how much of these nutrients are stored in the grain at harvest.
Growers may need to use fertilizers to meet the increased micronutrient requirements of hybrid corn in high-yield systems, especially if soil nutrient levels are too low.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/nitrogen-rates-affect-micronutrient-uptake-storage-corn
Laser Technology Improves Capsicum Pepper Seed Quality
The high cost of vegetable crop seeds — hybrids in particular — has led growers to seek out new precision seeding and transplant production systems. The quality of vegetable seed lots can be affected by a variety of pre-storage and post-storage factors, so finding ways to improve seedling emergence percentages and uniformity is critically important for producers. A new study from scientists in Turkey and The Netherlands, printed in American Society for Horticultural Science’s HortScience, shows that chlorophyll fluorescence (CF) can be used successfully to improve quality in Capsicum pepper seed lots.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/laser-technology-improves-capsicum-pepper-seed-quality
Study Examines Link Between Strawberry Production, Poor Water Quality
In the coastal valleys of central California, where more than 80 percent of the U.S.’ strawberry crops are grown, there is developing concern about the impact of these vast production systems on groundwater contamination. According to a study published in the August 2013 issue of HortScience, published by American Society for Horticultural Science, changes in growers’ cultural practices and the introduction of new cultivars has increased strawberry yields in the region by 140 percent during the past 50 years. But as crop yields have increased, water quality has diminished; water quality monitoring in these coastal valleys has shown that groundwater often exceeds Federal drinking water standards. Strawberry growers are facing increasing regulatory pressure to improve their management practices in order to protect groundwater.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/study-examines-link-between-strawberry-production-poor-water-quality
Mathematic Study Clears Path for Super-Crops
How some plant species evolved super-efficient photosynthesis had been a mystery. Now, scientists have identified what steps led to that change.
Around three percent of all plants use an advanced form of photosynthesis, which allows them to capture more carbon dioxide, use less water and grow more rapidly. Overall this makes them over 50 percent more efficient than plants that use the less efficient form.
A new study has traced back the evolutionary paths of all the plants that use advanced photosynthesis, including maize, sugar cane and millet, to find out how they evolved the same ability independently, despite not being directly related to one another.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/10/mathematic-study-clears-path-super-crops