Listeria are extremely undemanding bacteria. In low amounts they are present almost everywhere, including soil and water. In order to better understand how Listeria spread, a group of scientists from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the Univ. of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna collected soil and water samples throughout Austria. Their study revealed a higher detection of Listeria in soil and water samples during periods of flooding. The researchers also found antibiotic-resistant strains of Listeria in soil samples. The data were published in the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology.
The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems.
Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on more than half of them.
Researchers found that climate change increased the odds of nine extremes: heat waves in Australia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, intense rain in parts of the U.S. and India and severe droughts in California and New Zealand. The California drought, though, comes with an asterisk.
Scientists have found amphibians worldwide are breeding earlier because of climate change, but how that affects species is just now being answered.
After warmer winters, wood frogs breed earlier and produce fewer eggs, a Case Western Reserve Univ. researcher has found. Michael Benard, the George B. Mayer Chair in Urban and Environmental Studies and assistant professor of biology, also found that frogs produce more eggs during winters with more rain and snow.
Future generations of miners could harvest metals from trees, capitalizing on the ability of some plants to isolate and accumulate metals in their shoots.
Univ. of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute researcher Antony van der Ent says hyperaccumulator plants that can extract metals, such as nickel or cobalt, from the soil could be harvested for significant returns.
Land ice decay at the end of the last five ice ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 meters per century, according to a new study.
An international team of researchers developed a 500,000-year record of sea-level variability, to provide the first account of how quickly sea-level changed during the last five ice age cycles. The results, published in the latest issue of Nature Communications, also found that more than 100 smaller events of sea-level rise took place in between the five major events.
Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at lower cost than requiring the facilities to meet compliance costs on their own, a new Duke Univ.-led study finds. The scale and type of the trading programs, though critical, may matter less than just getting them started.
“Our analysis shows that water-quality trading of any kind can significantly lower the costs of achieving Clean Water Act goals,” says Martin Doyle, professor of river science and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned starkly that the globe’s climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. “Nobody gets a pass,” he declared. “We have to raise our collective ambition.”
Speaking at a United Nations summit, Obama said the U.S. is doing its part and that it will meet its goal to cut carbon pollution 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. He also announced modest new U.S. commitments to address climate change overseas. The summit aims to galvanize support for a global climate treaty to be finalized next year.
Nutrition Modeling Produces Cheaper Beef, May Cut Methane
Nutritional modeling systems developed in the department of animal science at Texas A&M Univ. have helped participating Texas feedlot operators keep feed costs in check and produce beef more profitably. Now, these models have the potential to be applied to help reduce greenhouse emissions, according to researchers.
Luis Tedeschi, Texas A&M AgriLife Research nutritionist and associate professor in the department of animal science, has extensively studied decision support systems, specifically nutritional modeling. While a doctoral student at Cornell Univ., Tedeschi worked with Danny Fox in developing the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System model for evaluating herd nutrition and nutrient excretion.
Ice in Arctic seas shrank this summer to the sixth lowest level in 36 years of monitoring.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported this week that the ice reached its seasonal minimum on Sept. 17 of 1.94 million square miles. That’s down a bit from 2013, but not near as low as the record-setting 2012. It is still 19 percent below average.
A new online resource, developed by researchers at the Univ. of Cambridge in collaboration with other organizations based in Cambridge, helps those in both the public and private sector see how changes to an ecosystem can affect its value, in order to make more informed decisions about how the natural environment should be developed.
The Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was launched online this week to coincide with the 7th Annual Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Costa Rica, and allows users to make a direct comparison of the value that an ecosystem can provide to a community in different states, by providing access to state of the art information about their financial value.
Earth’s protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.
Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis. For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields the planet from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013 as increasing levels of man-made pollution transform the planet, the UN weather agency said today.
In an annual report, the World Meteorological Organization said that carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas blamed for the largest share of global warming, rose to global concentrations of 396 parts per million last year, the biggest year-to-year change in three decades.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country.
The initiative, using money provided in the new five-year farm bill, will buy conservation easements from farmers to protect the environment, help wildlife populations and promote outdoor recreation, the USDA said in its announcement. The agency selected 380 projects nationwide covering 32,000 acres of prime farmland, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands.
If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary recommendations, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases tied to agricultural production could increase significantly, according to a new study by Univ. of Michigan researchers.
Martin Heller and Gregory Keoleian of U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of about 100 foods, as well as the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They found that if Americans adopted the recommendations in USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,” while keeping caloric intake constant, diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase 12 percent.
One of the most visible signs of climate change in recent years was not even visible at all until a few decades ago. The sea ice cap that covers the Arctic Ocean has been changing dramatically, especially in the last 15 years. Its ice is thinner and more vulnerable – and at its summer minimum now covers more than 1 million fewer square miles than in the late 1970s. That’s enough missing ice to cover Alaska, California and Texas.
A key part of the story of how the world was able to witness and document this change centers on meticulous work over decades by a small group of scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Late nights in mainframe rooms, double- and triple-checking computer printouts, processing and re-processing data – until the first-ever accurate atlases of the world’s sea ice were published.