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Don’t drink the (warm) water, UF/IFAS study says

Topic(s): Food Safety, IFAS, Safety

Water bottle toxin news release images.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Americans can take a warning from a University of Florida study of bottled water in China ─ don’t drink the liquid if you’ve left it somewhere warm for a long time.

Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, the material releases the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, commonly called BPA.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said BPA is not a major concern at low levels found in beverage containers, it continues to study the chemical’s impacts. Some health officials, including those at the Mayo Clinic, say the chemical can cause negative effects on children’s health.

And antimony is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

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UF/IFAS researchers use steam to treat citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research

UF/IFAS researchers are using steam to treat citrus greening.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers are turning to the old-fashioned method of steaming to help treat citrus greening, a disease devastating citrus trees throughout Florida.

Reza Ehsani and his UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences colleagues are tenting and then enveloping trees in steam that is 136 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 seconds in an attempt to kill the citrus greening bacterium. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Consumers will pay more for eco-friendly plants

Topic(s): Conservation, Economics, Environment, Green Living, IFAS

Hayk Khachatryan

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – People concerned with future consequences of their decisions will pay up to 16 cents more for eco-friendly plants, a new University of Florida study shows.

While 16 cents may not seem like much, researchers see any willingness to pay more to help the ornamental plants industry and the environment as good news.

Previous research has investigated the effects of perceived long-term consequences on people’s environmental behavior, including recycling or using public transportation. So UF food and resource economics assistant professor Hayk Khachatryan wanted to understand how differences in people’s perceptions of long- and short-term consequences affect plant preferences and purchase decisions.

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Escambia County 4-H club celebrates its centennial as oldest continuous club in Florida

Topic(s): 4-H, Extension, Families and Consumers
Watch Chalker, arriving at Club Camp

Watch Chalker, arriving at Club Camp in 1922

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In 1914, cattle in Escambia County grazed in open fields. The fledgling aviation industry, with its flimsy bi-planes and open-air cockpits, got the first United States Navy flight school in Pensacola. Air-conditioning was mere rumor. And University of Florida Extension agent Ed Finlayson started the near the   Barrineau Park 4-H Club.

A century later, 3,500 head of cattle enjoy Escambia’s fenced-in pastures. Pensacola Naval Air Station trains jet fighter pilots. Escambia residents marvel that anyone ever survived summer without air-conditioning, and Barrineau Park 4-H celebrates its status as Florida’s longest continuously operating 4-H club – and one of the nation’s oldest. (more …)

Good results from Florida’s urban tree-planting program, UF/IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Forestry, Green Living, IFAS

URBAN TREE planting

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida’s urban tree-planting program works well: 93 percent of the trees planted were still alive up to five years after they were planted, a new University of Florida study shows.

UF researchers attribute the high survival rate to the state’s rules for projects funded as part of its Urban and Community Forestry Grants program.

Run by the Florida Forest Service, the program began in 1990 to encourage cities to plant more trees for such benefits as energy savings, air and water quality and higher property values. For the current fiscal year, program officials approved $307,000 in federal money for 20 Florida cities, counties and nonprofits to help support trees.

Under the program, local entities must match the federal grants. And one year after trees are planted, the Florida Forest Service conducts on-site inspections to be sure trees, which are planted on public properties or rights of way, are alive and healthy.

For the study, scientists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2010 surveyed 2,354 trees planted at 26 sites, including Orlando, Tampa, Ocala, Lakeland and Vero Beach.

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18th Annual IFAS/CALS TailGATOR to be held on Oct. 11

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Alumni and friends of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are invited to TailGATOR 2014: Celebrating 50 Years of IFAS on Oct. 11 in Gainesville.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and CALS have hosted this annual event since 1997. TailGATOR will begin in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center three hours prior to kickoff of the UF vs. LSU game. TailGATOR tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door. Individuals can register online at www.cals.ufl.edu/tailgator.

“This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of IFAS,” said Janice Hurdle, CALS Alumni and Friends president. “As a part of IFAS, CALS students are uniquely positioned to gain hands-on research and Extension experience.”

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Gulf anglers could be entitled to $585 million after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, UF/IFAS study says

Topic(s): Conservation, Economics, Environment, Research

Apalachicola, Florida photographed for the 2015 Extension calendar.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Recreational anglers who normally fish in the Gulf of Mexico lost up to $585 million from lost fishing opportunities in the year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and could be entitled to compensation, according to a new University of Florida study.

After a disaster such as an oil spill, trustees — which could include federal, state or tribal authorities – often attempt to secure financial compensation from those responsible.

In the Gulf oil spill, those monies would not go back to individual fishermen, but instead might fund ecosystem improvements or to stock more fish in the Gulf on the fishermen’s behalf, said UF food and resource economics professor Sherry Larkin.

In December 2012, BP agreed to pay $2.3 billion to commercial fishermen, seafood boat captains and crew, seafood vessel owners and oyster leaseholders, but trustees have yet to seek compensation on behalf of recreational fishermen.

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Lice can be a real head-scratcher

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests

video available at http://youtu.be/eeKyE3EmPFE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With the start of another school year, a University  Dufner breaks a grin Ex animal  of Florida expert warns of a head-scratching problem ─ lice.

September is Head Lice Prevention Month, and Rebecca Baldwin, a University of Florida entomology assistant professor, says opportunities abound for head lice to spread from person to person, but parents and children can do plenty to prevent or get rid of the bugs.

Schools check for head lice check when students return in the fall, said Baldwin, a faculty member with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Over the summer, many children attend camp, where they share equipment or have sleepovers at which there is head-to-head contact. Children who have picked up lice at summer camp or from sleepovers will begin exhibiting symptoms of an infestation, which include head- and neck- scratching, nits on the hair shafts and seeing live lice.

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