News & Information

Latest news from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
The researchers used two of the most important malaria-hosting mosquito species in the world — Anopheles stephensi and Anopheles gambiae — to conduct their experiments. They maintained these malaria-infected mosquitoes in the laboratory under a variety of temperatures ranging from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, or 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.   Image: © Jim Gathany / CDC / Malaria Atlas Project
June 26, 2019

Malaria parasites develop faster in mosquitoes at lower temperatures than previously thought, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Exeter. The findings suggest that even slight climate warming could increase malaria risk to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people — including travelers — in areas that are currently too cold for malaria parasites to complete their development.

June 26, 2019

If Mike Messina has learned one thing from working for land-grant universities in three states for more than three decades, it's something he heard often during his stint with Texas A&M University: "Remember who you came to the dance with."

June 26, 2019

Robert Elkin, professor of avian nutritional biochemistry in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been selected as a Poultry Science Association Fellow, the highest recognition the association bestows upon a member.

June 26, 2019

Mary J. Kennett, director of the Animal Resource Program at Penn State, has announced that she will retire from the University on Sept. 30. Kennett, who joined Penn State in 2001, also is a professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Capsaicin, an extract from chili peppers like these, is considered an irritant, due to the warming and burning sensations it causes. Widespread consumption of chili peppers and foods such as wings spiced with siracha and hot sauce show that many people enjoy this burn. But these sensations also can be overwhelming.   Image: © Getty Images / fcfotodigital
June 25, 2019

People who order their Buffalo wings especially spicy and sometimes find them to be too "hot," should choose milk to reduce the burn, according to Penn State researchers, who also suggest it does not matter if it is whole or skim.

Maryam Hojati, Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Architecture; Nate Watson, College of Engineering; Shadi Nazarian, College of Arts and Architecture; Jose Duarte, College of Arts and Architecture; and Negar Ashrafi, College of Arts and Architecture, left to right, are among the members of the Penn State Den@Mars Team competing in NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.   Image: Penn State
June 25, 2019

A team of Penn State researchers has accepted NASA’s challenge of designing an autonomous system capable of creating a human shelter on Mars using 3D-printing technology. With the focus of the project on Mars, and research with a science-fiction-edge spurring the imagination to expand, perhaps the most profound application of their work is on Earth.

Lauren McPhillips, assistant professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering, collects a water sample from a roof drain on the University Park campus following several days of heavy rain. Wu Hong, far right, assistant professor of landscape architecture, is leading the green stormwater infrastructure research team. Also pictured: Jeffery D. Zaengle, a third-year undergraduate student in civil engineering, and Rui Wang, a first-year doctoral student in landscape architecture.   Image: Pamela Krewson Wertz
June 24, 2019

A proposal that will support the development of a living laboratory for green stormwater infrastructure research, education and innovation at Penn State is among the latest initiatives to receive funding through the University’s Strategic Plan Seed Grant program.

Researchers believe that with the addition of vanilla, the added sugar content in flavored milk could potentially be reduced by as much as half and people should not be able to perceive the beverage as less sweet. The congruent odor tricks the brain into thinking that there is still enough sweetness there.   Image: © Getty Images / StudioThreeDots
June 20, 2019

Adding vanilla to sweetened milk makes consumers think the beverage is sweeter, allowing the amount of added sugar to be reduced, according to Penn State researchers, who will use the concept to develop a reduced-sugar chocolate milk for the National School Lunch Program.

One of the most effective traps for capturing spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults is a sticky band wrapped around the trunk of a tree.    Image: Don Seifrit
June 19, 2019

According to Heather Leach, spotted lanternfly extension associate in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, one of the most effective traps for catching spotted lanternflies is a sticky band wrapped around the trunks of trees. Nymphs and adults are trapped on the sticky barrier as they crawl up the trunks to feed on newer growth higher in the tree.

Gillian Warner, a rising junior in community, environment, and development at Penn State, is a lifelong horsewoman and a member of the small and exotic animals club.    Image: Gillian Warner
June 18, 2019

Gillian Warner, a rising junior in community, environment, and development, is passionate about animals, food security and learning. She found a place for all these interests -- and more -- in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cows in the study at the Penn State dairy barns, to eat a sweet treat, put their heads in devices that measure methane they belch. The average dairy cow burps about 380 pounds of methane a year. Early studies show that supplementing their feed with seaweed could mitigate 80 percent of the potent greenhouse gas.   Image: Hristov Research Group/Penn State
June 17, 2019

Supplementing cattle feed with seaweed could result in a significant reduction in methane belched by livestock, according to Penn State researchers, but they caution that the practice may not be a realistic strategy to battle climate change.

New breeding strategies based on research into genes that help chickens survive Newcastle disease may help farmers build flocks that are hardier and more productive.   Image: Wikimedia Commons
June 17, 2019

An international team, led by Penn State researchers, may have identified genes that could help farmers, especially ones in low- and middle-income countries, breed chickens that can resist one of the biggest disease threats facing poultry today.

June 14, 2019

Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, recently received PennFuture’s 2019 Woman of Lifetime Achievement in Conservation Award in recognition of her lifelong work to protect natural resources.

At left, Ben Bianco plants a tree at a 2013 ceremony hosted by Koodu Trust, an organization in Nilgiris, India. He returned in 2017 to find it had grown strong and healthy. He said he can’t wait to see how big it gets by his next visit. Bianco, a Penn State alumnus, is a business-development professional with DAI Global, an international development company with offices in Washington, D.C.   Image: Ben Bianco
June 13, 2019

The best-laid plans often go awry, and sometimes that is a good thing, as it was for Ben Bianco, who now has his “dream job” in international development thanks to a chance encounter, an epiphany moment and Penn State.

Despite Pennsylvania's strong overall employment picture, manufacturing -- one of the state's top-three employment sectors -- lost 80,000 jobs between 2008 and 2018.   Image: MichaelGaida via Pixabay
June 13, 2019

With the U.S. economy on track for potentially the longest expansion on record after the Great Recession of 2008-09, employment in Pennsylvania overall is strong. But the rosy statewide job numbers can mask persistent decline in various industries and regions across the state, according to economists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Apple Program have funded 25 new and ongoing research and extension projects conducted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension.   Image: Elizabeth Tr. Armstrong via Pexels
June 13, 2019

New and ongoing tree-fruit research in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences received a boost with the recent awarding of funds totaling more than $261,000 by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Apple Program.

For chocolate specifically, oral texture is a critical quality attribute, with grittiness often being used to differentiate bulk chocolate from premium chocolates. Because chocolate is a semi-solid suspension of fine particles from cocoa and sugar dispersed in a fat base, it is an ideal food for the study of texture.   Image: © Getty Images / Image Source
June 13, 2019

Food's texture affects whether it is eaten, liked or rejected, according to Penn State researchers, who say some people are better at detecting even minor differences in consistency because their tongues can perceive particle sizes.

Male black carpenter ant — Camponotus pennsylvanicus    Image: Bruce Marlin
June 12, 2019

Ants adjust their social interactions to accommodate changes in population density, according to researchers at Penn State and Georgetown University. The findings suggest that ant colonies are capable of maintaining their sophisticated social organization despite potentially drastic changes in their environments.

June 10, 2019

Gains in U.S. chemical production, resulting from record-high oil and natural gas production, will be the subject of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 20.