Tag Archives: usda

Researchers Find Genetic Diversity Key to Survival of Honey Bee Colonies

When it comes to honey bees, more mates is better. A new study from North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that genetic diversity is key to survival in honey bee colonies – a colony is less likely to survive if its queen has had a limited number of mates.

“We wanted to determine whether a colony’s genetic diversity has an impact on its survival, and what that impact may be,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper describing the study. “We knew genetic diversity affected survival under controlled conditions, but wanted to see if it held true in the real world. And, if so, how much diversity is needed to significantly improve a colony’s odds of surviving.” (more…)

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Researchers ID Queens, Mysterious Disease Syndrome as Key Factors in Bee Colony Deaths

A new long-term study of honey bee health has found that a little-understood disease study authors are calling “idiopathic brood disease syndrome” (IBDS), which kills off bee larvae, is the largest risk factor for predicting the death of a bee colony.

“Historically, we’ve seen symptoms similar to IBDS associated with viruses spread by large-scale infestations of parasitic mites,” says Dr. David Tarpy, an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the study. “But now we’re seeing these symptoms – a high percentage of larvae deaths – in colonies that have relatively few of these mites. That suggests that IBDS is present even in colonies with low mite loads, which is not what we expected.” The study was conducted by researchers from NC State, the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (more…)

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Isotope Fingerprints

Jaisi laboratory tracks chemicals in water, farmland throughout Mid-Atlantic

University of Delaware researcher Deb Jaisi is using his newly established stable isotope facility in the Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory (EBL) to find the fingerprints of isotopes in chemical elements — specifically phosphorus — in order to track sources of nutrients in the environmentally-sensitive Chesapeake Bay, other bodies of water and farmland throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

Jaisi, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, explained that he and his research team are currently working on many projects in the EBL, including two that are funded through seed grants, one focusing on terrestrial phosphorus sources and the other on marine phosphorus sources in the Chesapeake. One of those grants is from the UD Research Foundation (UDRF) and is titled “Role of Non-terrestrial Phosphorus Sources in Eutrophication in the Chesapeake Bay.” (more…)

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Making Farm Fresh Affordable

New Food Bank program makes local produce accessible to low-income community

“We want to make sure you have access to the best produce,” says University of Delaware anthropology senior Dan Reyes. “To locally-, naturally- and organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Pesticide-free. Herbicide-free. The kinds of food normally too expensive to buy in grocery stores.”

The kinds of food that low-income households can now — thanks to the Food Bank of Delaware’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, developed by two UD students — purchase using their federal food benefits. (more…)

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Controlling the Spread of Diseases Among Humans, Other Animals and the Environment

New NSF-NIH-USDA-BBSRC grants fund research on how infectious diseases are transmitted

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and hantavirus are all infectious diseases spreading in animals and in people. Is human interaction with the environment somehow responsible for the increase in incidence of these diseases?

A joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program is providing answers.

It supports efforts to understand the underlying ecological and biological mechanisms behind human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. (more…)

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Study: Consumers Value Safer Food More Than Current Analyses Suggest

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Government regulators could more realistically assess the value of improving food safety if they considered the fact that consumers typically want to avoid getting sick – even if it means they have to pay a little extra for safer food, researchers say.

In the world of food regulation, cost-benefit analyses are a primary tool for assessing the societal benefits of mandating more stringent – and more expensive – processing practices. In most cases, regulators determine a dollar value associated with pursuing new rules by estimating how many illnesses and deaths the safer processing would prevent. (more…)

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USDA Moves 120,000 Users to Microsoft’s Cloud

*The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving its e-mail, document sharing, and other collaboration tools to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to save money and improve efficiency.* 

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 8, 2010 — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it is moving its on-premises e-mail and productivity applications to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure, becoming the first cabinet-level federal agency to embrace the cloud. 

In one of the largest cloud federal government deployments ever, the USDA is moving its 120,000 users to Microsoft Online Services, consolidating 21 different messaging and collaboration systems into one, said Chris Smith, the USDA’s chief information officer. The USDA plans to start the shift within the next four weeks.  (more…)

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