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IFAS News

University of Florida

Survey shows Floridians have concerns about food safety, GMOs

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, IFAS, Nutrition, Safety

Graphics available by emailing bradbuck@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While Floridians believe they do a fairly good job of keeping themselves safe from foodborne illnesses, they aren’t always clear about which foods, preparation techniques or cooking methods pose the biggest risks.

But they may be a bit overconfident.

A survey released by the University of Florida’s Public Issues in Education, PIE Center today shows that the state’s residents have many concerns about food safety and genetically modified foods but want to know more.

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UF/IFAS mosquito-feeding study may help stem dangerous viruses

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, RECs, Research, Safety

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mosquitoes bite male birds nearly twice as often as they bite females, a finding that may help scientists understand how to stem some viruses from spreading to humans, new University of Florida research shows.

In findings published online today in Royal Society Open Science, UF entomology assistant professor Nathan Burkett-Cadena found mosquitoes bite male birds 64 percent of the time, compared to 36 percent for females.

This marks the first step for scientists to try to determine why mosquitoes bite men more often than women in some parts of the world and vice versa in other areas, said Burkett-Cadena, who is based at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach.

“Understanding why mosquitoes bite males more often than females may lead to novel strategies for interrupting disease transmission,” said Burkett-Cadena, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member.

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Don’t drink the (warm) water left in a plastic bottle, 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 finds way to reduce E. coli in cows, improving food safety

Topic(s): Agriculture, Food Safety, Livestock, Research, Safety

 

K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new biological treatment could help dairy cattle stave off uterine diseases and eventually may help improve food safety for humans, a University of Florida study shows.

Kwang Cheol Jeong, an assistant professor in animal sciences and UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, examined cattle uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria, he said. The UF researchers did their experiments in labs and at the Dairy Unit on the Gainesville campus.

Jeong and his research team infused chitosan microparticles ─ an antimicrobial material derived from dissolved shrimp shells ─ into diseased cow uteri. When bought in stores, chitosan can be used to treat many ailments from obesity to anemia. On its own, chitosan only works at acidic pH levels, Jeong said. For cattle, Jeong’s team developed chitosan microparticles, which work in acidic and neutral pH, because cattle uteri have a neutral pH.

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UF/IFAS: ‘Perfect storm’ needed for salmonella to spread in post-harvest tomatoes

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Safety

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have gained new insight into produce-associated salmonella that they hope will eventually reduce the number and severity of the illness-causing outbreaks.

Tomato variety and weather can combine to make what the researchers call a “perfect storm” for salmonella to proliferate in harvested tomatoes, a new study shows.

It remains unclear how much each contributes to salmonella’s spread, but scientists say understanding the process is key to eventually curbing produce-associated outbreaks.

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Recent studies by UF professor highlighted by scientific journal

Topic(s): Crops, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, New Technology, Research, Safety

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two papers co-authored by a University of Florida professor have been highlighted by a leading science journal.

The science journal Plant Physiology recently named the studies “Crop Genome Plasticity and Its Relevance to Food and Feed Safety of Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” and “Evaluating the Potential for Adverse Interactions within Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” as Editor’s Choice papers.

The papers were co-authored by Curtis Hannah, an professor with the horticultural sciences department, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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UF/IFAS workshop to help timber owners protect their land from theft, other crimes

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, Forestry, IFAS, Safety

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To the owner, a tract of timberland may be a wise investment or a family legacy. Unfortunately, to others that same acreage may look like a great place to cook methamphetamine, poach deer or steal a few truckloads of logs.

To help North Florida residents prevent illegal activity on their land, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has joined forces with Florida’s Forest Stewardship Program and state agencies to present a one-day workshop, called Timberland Security for Owners.

It happens 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at the UF/IFAS Columbia County Extension Office in Lake City.

“We have a great program that’s dynamic and interesting, and covers material that every forest landowner should know for their own protection and protection of the community,” said Chris Demers, Forest Stewardship Program coordinator in Gainesville.

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Researchers pinpoint culprits in grapefruit/drug interactions, UF/IFAS citrus breeder says

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Cultivars, Safety

Grapefruit. UF/IFAS Photo:  Thomas Wright.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The quest to develop a grapefruit hybrid that will not interact with medication has taken a step forward, as researchers pinpoint compounds most responsible for the problem, a University of Florida citrus breeder says.

The data were published in the December 2012 issue of the journal Xenobiotica.

Scientists have been aware of the so-called “grapefruit juice effect” since 1989. Compounds in the fruit called furanocoumarins inhibit the action of an enzyme that breaks down certain medications in the human digestive system.

The phenomenon poses a health risk because it can produce unexpectedly high levels of these medications in a patient’s bloodstream. Doctors, pharmacists and prescription drug labels warn patients to avoid grapefruit and related products under these circumstances.

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Color is key in controlling flies, UF researchers find

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Household Pests, IFAS, Pests, Research, Safety

Florida Fly-Baiter

Caption at bottom. Click here for high resolution image.

Downloadable video is available at: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10837916/20120215_FlyTrap.zip

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As a carrier of as many as 100 types of germs, the common house fly is hardly as innocuous as its name might suggest.

Military personnel know this firsthand, and their need for effective fly control has helped University of Florida researchers create an innovative new fly control device.

Known as the Florida Fly-Baiter, the device is blue — in contrast to the yellow fly control devices on the market — and is far more effective, said Phil Koehler, a professor of urban entomology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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