Fresh from the Field, June 14, 2018

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Fresh from the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                              June 14, 2018

Success Stories 

Fresh from the Field NIFA Impacts fall armyworm web University of Tennesee Juan Luis Jurat Fuentes

Novel DNA-Based Methods for Detection of Bt-Resistant Fall Armyworms

A devastating pest, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), has become a growing threat to the use of transgenic corn technology in the Western Hemisphere and more recently the African continent. The fall armyworm is the insect pest with the highest number of field-evolved practical resistance cases to Bt crops. In fact, Bt-resistant fall armyworms are now in Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina.

University of Tennessee Professor Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes led a team of researchers who identified a particular DNA mutation in a gene that provides fall armyworms with field resistance to Bt corn. The team was also able to track changes in the mutant gene frequency in fall armyworm populations in Puerto Rico, the first successful case of DNA-based detection of insects exhibiting emerging field-evolved practical resistance to a transgenic Bt crop.

NIFA supports this research through the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant program (BRAG) and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Read more at the University of Tennessee Ag Research. USDA photo.

Fresh from the Field John Gunn Maine forests

Maine Forest Management 

Over the last 20 years, Maine’s forests have become younger and less dense. As a result, forests are not providing the most climate benefits that they could through carbon sequestration and storage. However, more carbon could be stored over the next 100 years, according to new research from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).

According to John Gunn at UNH, “Continuation of business-as-usual forestry will likely lead to Maine’s forest sector being a net carbon sink for the foreseeable future – meaning that when you add up all the carbon stored in the forest and also consider all the greenhouse gas emissions associated with harvesting trees and making forest products such as paper, lumber, and energy – there continues to be more carbon going into the system than going out.” Shifting to forestry practices that include less frequent harvests of smaller amounts of wood from each acre, this leads to 14 to 33 percent more carbon be stored over the next 100 years. This happens because trees would be allowed to grow older and larger and store more carbon than typically happens under current practices. 

NIFA supports the research through the McIntire-Stennis Capacity Grant program.

Read more at the UNH Agriculture Experiment Station. Photo credit: John Gunn/UNH.


Fresh from the field NIFAImpacts FVSU UV light goats

Lemongrass Oil Being Used as a Natural Approach to Combat Harmful Bacteria on Goat Meat

The recent outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in romaine lettuce has become a multistate issue, with some cases reported in Georgia. To help prevent such illnesses, an antibacterial essential oil could be the solution to inactivating E. coli and other foodborne pathogens.

E. coli O157:H7 causes bloody diarrhea and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. Dr. Ajit Mahapatra, a Fort Valley State University (FVSU) associate professor of food and bioprocess engineering, and his graduate assistant, Hema Degala, found that this particular strain can be significantly reduced on the surface of goat meat using continuous ultraviolet light and lemongrass oil.

NIFA supports this research through the Evans-Allen Program.

Read the full article at FVSU

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