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2014

Farm equipment developed at Penn State example of ag sciences entrepreneurship
December 17, 2014
A piece of agricultural machinery developed by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is starting to achieve commercial success, the latest example of potentially profitable technology transfer spurred by the college's Entrepreneurship and Innovation initiative.
Insecticides foster 'toxic' slugs, reduce crop yields
December 5, 2014
Insecticides aimed at controlling early-season crop pests, such as soil-dwelling grubs and maggots, can increase slug populations, thus reducing crop yields, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of South Florida.
Research, food-safety fundamentals guide holiday meal preparations
November 24, 2014
This is the time of year when we gather to feast on roasted turkey, stuffing and other fixings. For many, it will be the first time they will prepare a holiday dinner, while for others, it will be the latest of many memorable occasions. But those memories should not revolve around foodborne illness, according to a Penn State expert.
Entomologists hope vigilance, research stop newly discovered spotted lanternfly
November 17, 2014
People seeing the spotted lanternfly for the first time are struck by its sometimes-flashy appearance. But don't let its colorful, butterfly-like veneer fool you, caution entomologists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Altered milk protein can deliver AIDS drug to infants
November 13, 2014
A novel method of altering a protein in milk to bind with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS, according to a researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Never-before-seen insights into deer movement offered on research website
November 7, 2014
Two years into a study of factors influencing forest regeneration in Pennsylvania, Penn State researchers are offering never-before-seen insights into deer movement.
PlantVillage solves crop problems by democratizing science-based knowledge
October 20, 2014
David Hughes understands, maybe better than most, the devastating effects a plant disease can have on crops and the people who rely on them for food and income.
Climate change not responsible for altering forest tree composition
October 17, 2014
Change in disturbance regimes -- rather than a change in climate -- is largely responsible for altering the composition of Eastern forests, according to a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Horticulture professor to speak at World Food Prize event in Iowa on Oct. 16
October 17, 2014
Siela Maximova, senior scientist and professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences, will speak Oct. 16 at a side event at the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, the annual symposium at which the World Food Prize is awarded.
Research shows alcohol consumption influenced by genes
September 24, 2014
How people perceive and taste alcohol depends on genetic factors, and that influences whether they "like" and consume alcoholic beverages, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Monnat receives $100K grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
September 22, 2014
Monnat receives $100K grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
"Femme fatale" emerald ash borer decoy lures and kills males
September 15, 2014
An international team of researchers has designed decoys that mimic female emerald ash borer beetles and successfully entice male emerald ash borers to land on them in an attempt to mate, only to be electrocuted and killed by high-voltage current.
Sugar substitutes not so super sweet after all
September 5, 2014
The taste of common sugar substitutes is often described as being much more intense than sugar, but participants in a recent study indicated that these non-nutritive sugar substitutes are no sweeter than the real thing, according to Penn State food scientists.
Sensory-tested drug-delivery vehicle could limit spread of HIV, AIDS
August 29, 2014
A unique method for delivering compounds that could positively impact the global battle against HIV and AIDS may be possible, thanks to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Zombie ant fungi 'know' brains of their hosts
August 25, 2014
A parasitic fungus that reproduces by manipulating the behavior of ants emits a cocktail of behavior-controlling chemicals when encountering the brain of its natural target host but not when infecting other ant species, a new study shows. The findings, which suggest that the fungus "knows" its preferred host, provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, according to researchers.
Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony
August 20, 2014
A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit its infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to researchers at Penn State and colleagues at Brazil's Federal University of Vicosa.
Public urged to be on watch for invasive Asian longhorned beetles
August 18, 2014
By spotting, collecting and submitting suspected Asian longhorned beetles to experts, Pennsylvanians can help keep the non-native, invasive wood-boring threat to the state’s trees at bay, according to agriculture officials.
Penn State helps put robots to work down on the farm
August 18, 2014
Laser-guided robots and computer-programmed cleaning devices are allowing dairy farmers to work smarter rather than harder.
Native bacteria block Wolbachia from being passed to mosquito progeny
August 13, 2014
Trait can make mosquitos resistant to the malaria parasite.
Five CAS students named Huck Dissertation Research Award winners
August 4, 2014
Congratulations to Kerry Belton, Stephanie Bora, Bastian Minkenberg, Michael Podolsky, Girish Kirimanjeswara.
Post-Doc Leadership Program Highlighted
July 23, 2014
The Office of Research and Graduate Education supported a two-day leadership workshop for Post-Docs this summer.
Penn State Led Project in CSA News
July 23, 2014
The feature story in this month's issue of CSA news focuses on the signature food systems project of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.
Control strategy for Dengue, malaria increases risk of West Nile virus
July 11, 2014
Mosquitoes infected with the bacteria Wolbachia are more likely to become infected with West Nile virus and more likely to transmit the virus to humans, according to a team of researchers.
Radio tags, telemetry used in river-bass-movement research
July 11, 2014
If you catch a smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna or its tributaries, with a wire trailing from its underside, it is a participant in a study of fish movement related to wider research into the causes of fish diseases in the river system.
Fine-scale climate model projections predict malaria at local levels
July 7, 2014
Fine-scale climate model projections suggest the possibility that population centers in cool, highland regions of East Africa could be more vulnerable to malaria than previously thought, while population centers in hot, lowland areas could be less vulnerable, according to a team of researchers. The team applied a statistical technique to conventional, coarse-scale climate models to better predict malaria dynamics at local levels.
Parasite-free honey bees enable study of bee health
July 7, 2014
An international team of researchers has discovered honey bee colonies in Newfoundland, Canada, that are free of the invasive parasites that affect honey bees elsewhere in the world. The populations offer a unique opportunity to investigate honey bee health, both with and without interfering interactions from parasites.
World's cocoa crop could get a big boost from a simple, non-toxic spray
July 7, 2014
Cocoa farmers this year will lose an estimated 30 to 40 percent of their crop to pests and disease, and concern is growing about sustainability in cocoa production. Scientists at Penn State's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences have found – in a safe, biodegradable compound – a potential alternative to the hazardous antifungal agents currently being used to combat one of the most damaging cacao diseases, Phytophthora pod rot (also known as Black Pod).
Malaria parasite manipulates host's scent
July 7, 2014
Malaria parasites alter the chemical odor signal of their hosts to attract mosquitos and better spread their offspring, according to researchers, who believe this scent change could be used as a diagnostic tool.
Penn State IT helps University foals start off on the right hoof
July 7, 2014
Penn State's equine science team uses microchips, social media and live-streaming video technologies throughout the life cycle of the University's horses and during the department’s various events.
Habitat loss, not poison, better explains grassland bird decline
July 7, 2014
Contrary to recent well-publicized research, habitat loss, not insecticide use, continues to be the best explanation for the declines in grassland bird populations in the U.S. since the 1980s, according to a new study by ecologists.
Superbugs, antibiotic resistance and chicken -- a stew of misconceptions
June 18, 2014
With recent headlines about dangerous "superbugs," an outbreak of Salmonella from chicken parts on the West Coast and the announcement by a national restaurant chain that it plans to serve only "antibiotic-free" chicken, it's no wonder the public is alarmed and confused.
Zinc deficiency before conception disrupts fetal development
May 29, 2014
Female mice deprived of dietary zinc for a relatively short time before conception experienced fertility and pregnancy problems and had smaller, less-developed fetuses than mice that ingested zinc during the same times, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Congratulations Newly Tenured and Promoted Faculty
May 28, 2014
Promotions in academic rank, effective July 1, 2014
Climate change, other factors may reshape central Appalachian forests
May 28, 2014
The hardwood forests of the central Appalachians are a bastion of biodiversity, providing protective habitat for some 6,000 species of plants and animals. They support a $5 billion forest products industry in Pennsylvania alone. But these forests face stresses that could change their character substantially over the next hundred years. One of these stresses is climate change. Given current forecasts for rising temperatures and increased precipitation, the suitable habitats for many individual tree species are expected to migrate north. But forest ecologist Margot Kaye says the impact on actual trees is hard to predict.
Gift of $100K to support collaboration between Penn State and Ukraine
May 27, 2014
Penn State programs that foster collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences and agricultural universities in Ukraine will get a boost as the result of a gift from a local family. George and Nina Woskob, of State College, Pennsylvania, have pledged $100,000 to support the Woskob Ukraine New Century Fund, an endowment established by George Woskob's parents, real estate developers Helen and Alex Woskob.
Oil and gas development homogenizing core-forest bird communities
May 22, 2014
Conventional oil and gas development in northern Pennsylvania altered bird communities, and the current massive build-out of shale-gas infrastructure may accelerate these changes, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Ben Franklin portfolio company LignoLink receives Phase II SBIR Grant
May 14, 2014
Located in Innovation Park, Lignolink Inc. is developing a patented technology for the genetic modification of crops to enhance digestibility for biofuels feedstock and livestock forages. Recently the company received a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Science Foundation. The company will use the investment to further advance their technology which improves the breakdown of biomass into sugars.
Hamer Foundation provides support for Center for Private Forests
May 14, 2014
A Penn State center that helps ensure sound stewardship of privately owned forestland in Pennsylvania will enhance its programming, thanks to a gift from a foundation created by a Penn State alumnus and benefactor. The Hamer Foundation, founded by Donald Hamer, of Bellefonte, has committed $500,000 over five years to support the Center for Private Forests housed in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Research indicates coyote predation on deer in East manageable
May 9, 2014
Coyotes are a major predator of white-tailed deer across the East, especially fawns born each spring, but wildlife managers nonetheless are able to stabilize and even grow deer herds, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Fungus may help stop invasive spread of tree-of-heaven
May 8, 2014
A naturally occurring fungus might help curb the spread of an invasive tree species that is threatening forests in most of the United States, according to researchers
Researchers find unique fore wing folding among Sub-Saharan African ensign wasps
May 2, 2014
Researchers discovered several possibly threatened new species of ensign wasps from Sub-Saharan Africa -- the first known insects to exhibit transverse folding of the fore wing. The scientists made this discovery, in part, using a technique they developed that provides broadly accessible anatomy descriptions.
Antimicrobial edible films inhibit pathogens in meat
May 2, 2014
Antimicrobial agents incorporated into edible films applied to foods to seal in flavor, freshness and color can improve the microbiological safety of meats, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Penn State researchers believe ants can lead to human-disease insights
April 30, 2014
What can ants teach us about the transmission and spread of human disease? Perhaps a lot, according to a team of researchers who recently received a grant of more than $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation to explore this question.
East African honeybees are safe from invasive pests … for now
April 17, 2014
Several parasites and pathogens that devastate honeybees in Europe, Asia and the United States are spreading across East Africa, but do not appear to be impacting native honeybee populations at this time, according to an international team of researchers.
Researchers identify terrain likely to attract wasting disease-infected deer
April 14, 2014
A study of the spread of chronic wasting disease among white-tailed deer in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania found that infected deer tend to cluster in low-lying open and developed areas. These results suggest that state wildlife management agencies should concentrate surveillance efforts in such topography and landscapes, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Researchers receive $1.14 million to study threats to honey bees
April 7, 2014
Scientists in the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State received three grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation to study various threats to honey bees, including disease, pesticides and the extinction and invasion of other species into their habitats.
Research suggests that green tea, exercise boost weight loss, health
April 3, 2014
Mice on a high-fat diet that consumed decaffeinated green tea extract and exercised regularly experienced sharp reductions in final body weight and significant improvements in health, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, who suggest that similar results could be realized by people.
A matter of taste: IT plays crucial role at Sensory Evaluation Center
April 1, 2014
Sensory technologists at Penn State use a range of information technologies to study the science of personal taste.
Stigmas, once evolutionarily sound, are now bad health strategies
March 28, 2014
Stigmatization may have once served to protect early humans from infectious diseases, but that strategy may do more harm than good for modern humans, according to Penn State researchers.
Ben Franklin announces winner of Big Idea business plan contest
March 21, 2014
A local startup’s Big Idea has won $25,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Nina Jenkins with Penn State’s Department of Entomology and her business partner, Giovani Bellicanta, have developed a patent-pending, nontoxic, bio-pesticide that successfully removes and further prevents bed bug infestations in homes and hotel rooms.
Brennan, Reese named recipients of Kopp International Achievement Award
March 21, 2014
Mark Brennan, professor of leadership and community development in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Jane Reese, assistant coordinator of the Penn State Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, are recipients of the 2014 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award. Established in 1995, the award recognizes faculty and staff members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.
Six faculty members receive Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching
March 21, 2014
Six Penn State faculty members have received the 2014 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. They are Meredith Defelice, senior lecturer of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science; Michael Evans, assistant chief academic officer and instructor of nursing at Penn State Worthington Scranton; Karen Kackley-Dutt, instructor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley; Dale Olver, instructor of dairy and animal science in the College of Agricultural Sciences; Ute Poerschke, associate professor of architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture, and Jessica Schocker, assistant professor of social studies education and women’s studies at Penn State Berks. The award, named after Penn State’s seventh president, honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.
Castellanos honored with Kopp International Achievement Award
March 21, 2014
Paige Castellanos, a doctoral candidate in rural sociology and international agriculture and development in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been honored as the recipient of the 2014 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award for graduate students.
Research reveals true value of cover crops to farmers, environment
March 18, 2014
Planting cover crops in rotation between cash crops -- widely agreed to be ecologically beneficial -- is even more valuable than previously thought, according to a team of agronomists, entomologists, agroecologists, horticulturists and biogeochemists from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Producers weighing dairy policy shift in new farm bill
March 14, 2014
As the dust settles on February's enactment of the 2014 farm bill, experts continue to analyze the bill's provisions to determine what the legislation means for farmers. An economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences says the bill's dairy provisions -- the aspect of federal farm policy arguably most important for Pennsylvania agriculture -- continue the shift toward a greater reliance on risk-management approaches to provide a safety net for farmers.
Penn State-led project aimed at reducing greenhouse gases from livestock
March 5, 2014
Dairy cows in barn An estimated 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide come from animal production. A Penn State-led consortium will seek to develop feeding strategies that will reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock.
'CSI River Otters:' Animal forensics, DNA used to estimate population
February 28, 2014
The restoration of Pennsylvania's river-otter population has been, by all accounts, a great success, and a study being conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will soon quantify the accomplishment by yielding population information.
Characterization of stink bug saliva proteins opens door to controlling pests
February 26, 2014
Brown marmorated stink bugs cause millions of dollars in crop losses across the United States because of the damage their saliva does to plant tissues. Researchers at Penn State have developed methods to extract the insect saliva and identify the major protein components, which could lead to new pest control approaches.
Environment influences ability of bacterium to block malaria transmission
February 17, 2014
The environment significantly influences whether or not a certain bacterium will block mosquitoes from transmitting malaria, according to researchers at Penn State.
Asian longhorned beetles pheromone could be used to manage
February 13, 2014
Female Asian longhorned beetles lure males to their locations by laying down sex-specific pheromone trails on tree surfaces, according to an international team of researchers. The finding could lead to the development of a tool to manage this invasive pest that affects about 25 tree species in the United States.
Drifting herbicides produce uncertain effects
February 11, 2014
Farmers should take extra precautions so drifting herbicides do not create unintended consequences on neighboring fields and farms, according to agricultural researchers.
Wasps use ancient aggression genes to create social groups
February 10, 2014
Aggression-causing genes appeared early in animal evolution and have maintained their roles for millions of years and across many species, even though animal aggression today varies widely from territorial fighting to setting up social hierarchies, according to researchers from Iowa State University, Penn State and Grand Valley State University.
Applications now being accepted for the 2014 Dutch Gold Honey Undergraduate Scholarship for research in honey bee biology and health
February 10, 2014
The Penn State Department of Entomology is seeking undergraduate student applicants for the Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship for honey bee research.
Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity
February 4, 2014
The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms. However, other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to species diversity, according to Penn State researchers.
Local foods offer tangible economic benefits in some regions
February 3, 2014
Despite their typically small size and sparse distribution, farms that sell their products locally may boost economic growth in their communities in some regions of the U.S., according to a team of economists.
Eight named distinguished professors
February 3, 2014
The Penn State Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs has named eight faculty members as distinguished professors.
New center to explore solutions for nutrient pollution
January 31, 2014
A multi-pronged, systems approach to solving water pollution caused by nutrients in the environment is the focus of a new center housed in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. With a $2.2 million Science to Achieve Results grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, researchers will launch the Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions.
Recent Ph.D. Grad Receives Prestigious Award
January 31, 2014
Justin Runyun, a recent graduate of the Entomology Ph.D. program was awarded a President's Early Career Scientist award.
Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive
January 31, 2014
Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State and University of Florida researchers. The team also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) -- an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive -- is highly toxic to honeybee larvae.
Why do we love snack food?
January 24, 2014
Food science experts study why we love chips, chocolate and other famous Pennsylvania foods, and offer expertise to the state’s snack food industry.
Penn State-led team launches newsletter focused on Northeast food security
January 16, 2014
A research team led by a faculty member in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has launched a quarterly newsletter that will provide updates on the research and outreach activities of the $5 million, U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project called Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems. The project seeks to determine whether greater reliance on regionally produced food could improve food access and affordability in disadvantaged communities, while also benefiting farmers, food supply chain firms and others in the food system.