Applying Alternatives: Leveraging the Soil Microbiome to Fight Disease

Charcoal rot is a soilborne disease caused by a fungus (Macrophomina phaseolina) that results in significant crop losses. At Kansas State University, a team of researchers quantified the...

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Banishing Bad Bacteria: Controlling E. Coli To Protect Poultry and People

Dr. Mellata and her team’s project focuses on improving food safety by reducing harmful bacteria in poultry products. Its major goals are: 1) advance our understanding of the zoonotic...

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Boosting Bees: Improving Bee Health to Benefit Farmers

Because pollinators are critical for the production of most berry crops, Dr. Isaacs and his transdisciplinary team investigate pollinator ecology and management, economic value, and...

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Boosting Heat Stress Tolerance in Turkeys

The perfect deli sandwich starts with optimal living conditions for turkeys everywhere. Temperature stress right before processing turkey directly impacts the quality of turkey meat that...

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Clearing the Air in a Cage-free Production System

Hongwei Xin and associates compared cage-free systems with more conventional approaches and found that the cage-free approach resulted in more airborne bacteria, ammonia, and dust. Worker...

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Comparing the Impacts of Future Air Pollution and Rising Temperatures on Key Crops

Dr. Heald’s work suggests that adaptation efforts replacing corn with wheat should be coupled with initiatives limiting ozone pollution to maximize production. While the team estimated...

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Creating a Fingerprint Database for Foodborne Pathogens

Dr. Bart Weimer and his team at UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, are creating a massive database of genome signatures— collecting the “fingerprints” of 65,000 strains of...

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Creating an Early Detection System for Florida’s Diversifying Agriculture Sector

Dr. Carrie Lapaire Harmon’s lab, Florida’s Plant Diagnostic Center, serves as the state’s early detection system. Her lab is equipped to quickly test and diagnose numerous plant diseases,...

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Deciphering Decisions: Using Digital Tools to Help Farmers Plant the Right Seeds

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are using machine learning to help farmers make informed planting decisions. The computational models allow farmers to receive the top...

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Defending Dairy: Connecting Expertise to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The dairy industry is committed to reducing GHGs associated with milk production. The researchers learned that if farmers implemented best management practices worldwide to reduce GHG...

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Defending Diabetics: Developing Flavonoid-enriched Foods to Prevent and Treat Diabetes

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and more than 80 million American adults have prediabetes. Dr. Shengmin Sang is working to determine if there are dietary strategies focused...

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Deploying Drones: Helping Farmers Utilize New Technology to Improve Efficiency

Dr. Williams and his colleagues at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) are bridging-the-gap of information between drones’ technological advances and farmers’ needs and expectations. In...

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Developing an Onsite Solution for Safer Food

Dr. Woubit Abdela, Dr. Temesgen Samuel, and Dr. Teshome Yehualaeshet at Tuskegee University have tinkered with a 30-year-old genetics tool to invent a fast and portable foodborne illness...

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Diversifying Dinner: Creating Hybrid Wheat for Improved Productivity and Nutrition

Wheat provides 20 percent of the protein and 20 percent of the calories consumed by humans worldwide. By developing cross-pollinating hybrids, scientists hope to leverage the natural...

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Elevating Evaluation: Developing New Tools to Understand Animal Genetics

Dr. Misztal and a team of international researchers are working to simplify genetic analyses for dairy cattle evaluation. Using data from more than 3 million Holstein cows, the team...

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Fast-tracking an Improved Wheat Harvest

Dubcovsky leads a collaboration of wheat-breeding labs throughout the U.S. whose work has made this acceleration possible. He and his colleagues have mapped out more than 90,000 genetic...

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Feeding Farm Animals: Using Computing Technology to Individualize Diets

Dr. White focuses on precision animal nutrition to improve livestock health and the efficiency of food production. Her team explores how the nexus of a specific animal’s behavior and...

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Fighting Childhood Obesity With Better Marketing

Marketers have mastered the art of generating impulse purchases at grocery stores. Customers waiting in line find tantalizing candy and other treats within their reach. Dr. David Just is...

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Fighting For The Future: Mitigating Antimicrobial Resistance Through Better Stewardship

Antibiotics have been prescribed for people and animals at rates that have encouraged bacteria to expand resistance. If this trend continues, life-saving antibiotics may be ineffective in...

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Finding Resistance in the Saliva of Crop Pests

When caterpillars attack tomato plants, proteins in the insect saliva disarm the tomato defenses. Dr. Felton and his colleagues have identified another set of proteins in caterpillar...

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Fortifying Fruit: Harnessing Soil and Root Microbiomes to Boost Crop Productivity

This Penn State team is working to better understand how soil microbes and plant roots interact in order to provide new tools that maximize production, improve soil health, and reduce the...

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Harnessing a Flood of Data to Improve Rice Production

Dr. McCouch and Dr. Wang analyzed genetic sequencing of all the rice varieties whose seeds lie in the public domain to determine the genetics responsible for production levels in specific...

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Harnessing Plants to Produce Safer, Less Expensive Drugs

Dr. Elizabeth Sattely and her team are exploring how plants can be re-engineered to serve as miniature chemical production facilities to produce a wide array of biological agents.

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Helping Chickens Breathe Easier

Chang-Won Lee, PhD, and his colleagues worry about more than the avian flu. They focus expansively on more than a single respiratory disease. While scientists may be able to generate...

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Helping Farmers Save Enough Water to Double Nebraska’s Largest Lake

When Dr. Suat Irmak joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003, he conducted a comprehensive needs assessment to determine what issues he should tackle. The...

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Helping Hearts: Discovering the Impacts of Flavonoids and Interpersonal Gut Variations to Improve Cardiovascular Health

The American Heart Association notes a recent study that showed millions of people worldwide could prevent early deaths and disability from heart disease by eating more fruits and...

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Identifying the Genetic Blueprint for Healthier Cattle

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is a combination of viral and bacterial cattle infections made worse by the stress of transportation to the feedlot. This project plans to breed enough...

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Improving Irrigation: Developing Sensors to Measure Thirst in Plants

Dr. Stroock and his team are developing sensors to detect the thirst of apple trees in order to more precisely irrigate orchards. Instead of using traditional techniques to estimate water...

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Improving Pig Fertility to Boost Efficiency

Daniel Ciobanu, PhD, and his team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that sows expressing age at puberty early in life produce more litters during their lifetime.

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Influencing Inflammation: Boosting Gut Health to Help Obese Adults

Inflammation is a major cause of health problems. Drs. Hutkins and Walter and their collaborators set out to improve gut health by using a novel formulation of probiotics (healthy...

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Mapping the Potential of Soil

Purdue scientists have developed algorithms that account for how soil in specific locations interact with landscape features like streams and water catchments. These algorithms provide...

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Maximizing Microbes: Improving Feed Efficiency and Nutrition for Sustainable Beef

Dr. Myer and his team work to improve the nutrition and feed efficiency of beef cattle. To do so, they are developing tools and technologies that examine the rumen and gut microbiome....

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Neutralizing “cousins” of the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen That Destroy Soybeans

Phytophthora sojae is one of the most disruptive pathogens in soybean fields across the U.S. These scientists used information from P. sojae genomes to develop new diagnostic tools and to...

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Powering Pecans: Leveraging Genetics to Defend Crops Against Disease and Weather

Dr. Randall and her team are utilizing the available natural genetic diversity in pecans for future breeding of better seeds. The ultimate goal of the research is to produce trees with...

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Promoting Precision: Using Satellite Data to Manage Water and Fertilizer Use

Dr. Khosla and his team are reducing water and nitrogen use by enhancing the efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability of crop production systems through informatics....

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Protecting Pork: Harnessing Genomics to Improve Livestock Resilience

Biosecurity protocols and vaccinations help prevent or reduce disease in pigs, but some animals will still get sick. To address this, Dr. Dekkers and his international team utilized the...

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Protecting Soil and Water With Strips of Native Prairie

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore and Dr. Matthew Helmers lead an interdisciplinary team of scientists who have found an innovative way to minimize runoff, keeping water clean without sacrificing...

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Racing Against the Clock to Beat the Blast Fungus

The rice blast fungus is a feared pathogen, even after genetic research discovered how to introduce resistance in rice plants. Dr. Barbara Valent took on the blast-fungus challenge....

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Reducing Allergens in Peanuts

Nearly three million children and adults in the U.S. suffer from peanut allergies and their severe medical consequences. Dr. Jianmei Yu and her colleagues at N.C. State University...

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Reinforcing Resilience: Leveraging Super Computers to Predict Crop Yields and Water Requirements

Dr. Guan and his team use computer modeling to determine how increasing temperatures impact soybean growth and crop production.  This enables them to more accurately predict the future...

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Rejuvenating Resources: Working With Farmers to Improve Soil Health

Healthy crops depend upon healthy soil. Dr. Scow leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers working at UC Davis’ Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility and in farmers’...

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Responding to an Emerging Disease

Farmers in Asia and Europe have struggled with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) outbreaks for decades. Dr. Jason Woodworth and his team first confirmed pig feed as a path of...

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Safeguarding Salad: Reducing Cross-contamination in Fresh Produce Processing

Dr. Nitin and his team are discovering multiple techniques to minimize cross-contamination, which is a leading cause of foodborne outbreaks in fresh produce. They study how to prevent...

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Saving Citrus: Using Genetics to Boost Resistance to Citrus Greening

At University of Florida, researchers are working to save Florida’s citrus industry by applying a new gene-editing technique to combat citrus greening disease.

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Sensing Safety: Deploying Sensors to Safeguard the Food Supply

To protect against foodborne illnesses, researchers at North Carolina State University are working to keep certain disease-causing microorganisms out of the food supply entirely.

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Sequencing Solutions: Revolutionizing Understanding of Antimicrobial Resistance With Genome Analysis

Antimicrobial resistant-microbes (AMRs) pose a serious threat to public health. AMRs are found in people, animals, food, and the environment. They spread from animals to people, and from...

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Software for Soybeans: Using Drone Technology and Computer Analysis to Evaluate New Plant Varieties

Dr. Rainey and Dr. Cherkauer are automating part of the breeding process for soybeans. Drones fly over test plots and record high-resolution photos in a fraction of the time that it would...

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Supporting Soil: Improving the Way Scientists Measure and Communicate the Value of Soil

Dr. Morgan and her team are helping farmers and the public understand the importance of soil health. No-till farming, or growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage, is a...

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Targeting Gut Microbes to Fight Malnutrition

Nutrient-dense therapeutic foods have reduced deaths from childhood malnutrition but do little to improve long-term problems linked to the condition, including stunted growth, impaired...

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Targeting Troublemakers: Enhancing Dry Food Safety With Pasteurization Technologies

Salmonella is a formidable foe in low-moisture foods. The project’s overall goal is to enhance the development, improvement, and commercial adoption of pathogen-reduction technologies for...

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Thinking Tiny: Blocking Pathogenic Bacteria With Nanoengineered Surfaces

Foodborne illnesses can be caused by food coming in contact with bacteria on surfaces in food-processing plants, restaurants, and households. When enough bacteria congregate, they create...

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Tracking and Minimizing Foodborne Bacteria With Cutting-edge Technology

Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou is using a new technology known as CRISPR, which dramatically speeds up the editing of bacterial genetics, to examine the pathogen’s DNA and determine its origin...

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Transferring Science and Translating Policy for Farmers

Dr. Irwin and his colleagues are bringing their research straight to farmers. Their website, called Farmdoc, serves the “Corn Belt” agricultural community. Updated daily, it now has over...

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Treasuring Thiamin: Optimizing Vitamin B1 Delivery in Food Products

People suffering from thiamin deficiencies often don’t know the cause of their symptoms, which may include exhaustion, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. Dr. Mauer and Dr....

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Valuing Vegetables: Investigating Broccoli to Improve Gut Health

Dr. Perdew explains that all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower) contain an organic chemical compound called “indole glucosinolates.” When that...

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