USDA grant to support expansion of online tool for pollinator conservation

A Penn State-led research team has received a nearly $950,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to create the next generation of an online decision-support tool designed to help conserve pollinator populations across the United States.

Lanternfly's attraction to vertical silhouettes could help monitor, trap it

Like moths to a flame, spotted lanternflies are visually drawn toward and seemingly captivated by vertical objects such as utility poles, a behavior that could be valuable in predicting where the pests might be heading, according to entomologists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Farmland acreage falls in Pa. while population rises in prime agricultural areas

The number of acres of farmland in Pennsylvania fell by 6% between 2012 and 2017, at a time when the state's prime farming regions are experiencing population growth that may create long-term challenges for producers. That's one conclusion of a new report from the Center for Economic and Community Development in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

College of Ag Sciences doctoral student chosen as Next Generation Global Leader

Kelly Chege, a doctoral candidate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been selected as a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Next Generation Global Leaders Network.

Spotted lanternfly experts debunk myths about the prodigious, pestilent pest

As the spotted lanternfly extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Heather Leach hears stories or “myths” about management or the biology of the pest.

Researchers investigate an at-home 'scratch-and-sniff' test for COVID-19

A self-administered "scratch-and-sniff" test for COVID-19 may be around the corner, according to researchers at Penn State, the University of Florida and Arizona State University. The team, which received $912,000 from the National Institutes of Health, will analyze two different smell tests with a goal of developing inexpensive, at-home tests to help identify new cases of COVID-19 and provide a warning sign of a community outbreak in time to thwart it.

Study: Bumble bees lacking high-quality habitat have higher pathogen loads

Bumble bees found in low-quality landscapes — characterized by a relative lack of spring flowers and quality nesting habitat — had higher levels of disease pathogens, as did bumble bees in areas with higher numbers of managed honey bee hives, according to research led by Penn State scientists.

'Windows of opportunity' crucial for cutting Chesapeake nutrient, sediment loads

The vast majority of nutrients and sediment washed into streams flowing into the Chesapeake Bay are picked up by deluges from severe storms that occur on relatively few days of the year. That is the conclusion of a new study led by Penn State researchers, who say it offers clues for cleaning up the impaired estuary.

Researchers aim to 'upcycle' nutrient waste on farms using duckweed

With a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Penn State researchers will investigate how duckweed could be grown on Pennsylvania farms to limit nutrient pollution into the Chesapeake Bay.

Penn State researcher to explore how vitamin D affects COVID-19

Funding from the National Institutes of Health will enable Margherita Cantorna, distinguished professor of molecular immunology and nutrition in the College of Agricultural Sciences, to study whether vitamin D supplementation could help people ward off or reduce symptoms caused by COVID-19.

COVID-related unemployment hits people of color, women and older workers hardest

Job losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic have affected wide swaths of the population, but workers in some demographic groups and industry sectors have been hit harder than others, according to "COVID-19 and Pennsylvania’s Economy," a series of reports compiled by researchers in Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development.

Dairy cows exposed to heavy metals worsen antibiotic-resistant pathogen crisis

Dairy cows, exposed to drinking water contaminated with heavy metals for a few years, carry more pathogens loaded with antimicrobial-resistance genes able to tolerate and survive various antibiotics. That’s the finding of a team of researchers that conducted a study of two dairy herds in Brazil four years after a dam holding mining waste ruptured, and it spotlights a threat to human health, the researchers contend.

Golden ticket: Researchers examine what consumers desire in chocolate products

Gold foil, ornate labels and an intriguing backstory are product characteristics highly desired by premium chocolate consumers, according to research conducted by food scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Veterinary experts offer advice after pet cat tests positive for COVID-19 in Pa.

Despite the state's first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a domestic cat, veterinary experts say residents should not be concerned about contracting the virus from pets and other domesticated animals. However, people with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should take precautions to protect the health of their pets.

More precise nitrogen recommendations for corn to help farmers, cut pollution

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed an important component of a new system that corn growers can use to adjust nitrogen fertilizer applications based on site-specific measurements of cover crops and soil organic matter.

Penn State sensory scientists encourage smell checks to fight COVID-19 spread

With mounting scientific evidence that anosmia, or loss of smell, is one of the most specific symptoms of COVID-19 infection, sensory scientists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have launched a webpage to encourage people to perform a daily smell test in an effort to nip disease spread in the bud.

Penn State researcher part of project to develop novel COVID-19 vaccine

A researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is part of a team of scientists working to develop a unique COVID-19 vaccine that uses a bovine adenovirus as a safe and effective delivery vehicle.

Harvesting vegetation on riparian buffers barely reduces water-quality benefits

Allowing farmers to harvest vegetation from their riparian buffers will not significantly impede the ability of those streamside tracts to protect water quality by capturing nutrients and sediment — and it will boost farmers’ willingness to establish buffers.

Researchers hear more crickets and katydids 'singing in the suburbs'

The songs that crickets and katydids sing at night to attract mates can help in monitoring and mapping their populations, according to Penn State researchers, whose study of Orthoptera species in central Pennsylvania also shed light on these insects' habitat preferences.

Penn State researchers to study novel coronavirus potential to infect livestock

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enable Penn State researchers to study the potential for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, to infect and spread among livestock.

Insect Biodiversity Center to promote insect conservation, healthy ecosystems

The newly launched Insect Biodiversity Center at Penn State will create a focal point for the study and conservation of insects and the ecosystems with which they interact. The center brings together faculty researchers and educators from eight Penn State colleges.

Penn State alumnus hits a homerun as head groundskeeper for minor league team

Penn State alumnus Jordan Barr is living his “field of dreams” as head groundskeeper for the Burlington Bees, a Los Angeles Angels-affiliated baseball team in southeastern Iowa.

Merit-based NSF grant extension supports expansion of gene-editing technology

Researchers who developed an improved method of gene editing for the study of arthropods will expand the technology for use in vertebrate species such as mice, fish and birds after receiving new funding from the National Science Foundation.

Cover crop mixtures must be 'farm-tuned' to provide maximum ecosystem services

Penn State researchers, in a recent study, were surprised to learn that they could take the exact same number of seeds from the same plants, put them in agricultural fields across the Mid-Atlantic region and get profoundly different stands of cover crops a few months later.

Spotted lanternfly task force brings together expertise of scientists, agencies

Slowing the spread of the spotted lanternfly is the charge of the Cooperative Spotted Lanternfly Program in Pennsylvania. The task force includes scientists and extension specialists from the College of Agricultural Sciences, and government regulatory officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Ag Progress Days online expo features live webinars, virtual tours, education

The novel coronavirus pandemic will not stop Penn State's 2020 Ag Progress Days — scheduled for Aug. 9-12 — from providing educational activities, research tours and commercial interactions, even as the event shifts to a virtual format due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to organizers in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Researchers aim to create thriving agricultural systems in urbanizing landscapes

A team led by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers is almost a year into a five-year study aimed at creating economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural systems in the face of development pressures and other challenges of urbanization.

Novel cutting mechanism devised for automated, robotic apple-tree pruning system

The first robotic cutting mechanism — or “end-effector” — for a fully automated, computerized pruning system for modern apple orchards has been designed by a Penn State research team, an early step in the creation of a technology aimed at easing challenges facing tree-fruit growers.

Animal science embedded course gets creative with virtual experience

Although the travel portion of their study abroad class was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, animal science students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences still experienced a “virtual” Ireland while learning about the equine industry in Pennsylvania.

Gall fly outmaneuvers host plant in game of 'Spy vs. Spy'

Over time goldenrod plants and the gall flies that feed on them have been one-upping each other in an ongoing competition for survival. Now, a team of researchers has discovered that by detecting the plants’ chemical defenses, the insects may have taken the lead.

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