GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three veteran University of Florida Extension agents have earned national recognition for outstanding leadership, diversity and international service.
Epsilon Sigma Phi, a national honorary fraternity that encourages professional development for the nation’s Extension agents, recognized Mary Keith, Mary E. “Betsy” Crisp and Adrian Hunsberger at its annual conference in Indianapolis in October.
Keith, Crisp and Hunsberger have worked for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, collectively, for about 50 years.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida program aimed at helping young people avoid alcohol and illegal drugs works well, new research shows.
Health Rocks!, an Extension curriculum facilitated by the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, teaches middle school students life skills.
UF/IFAS Extension agents, faculty and the National 4-H Council teach Health Rocks! Many times, the professionals train schoolteachers and volunteers, who teach middle school students the curriculum.
The study’s results show the Florida curriculum helps to increase young people’s knowledge and to change their attitudes about drug use and may help them avoid illegal substances, said Kate Fogarty, an associate professor in UF/IFAS’ family, youth and community sciences and a study co-author.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Ongoing weather issues have forced the University of Florida to cancel its Family Day at the Dairy Farm open house, which was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25.
“We’re very sorry to have to cancel, but heavy rainfall in late September and early October created wet conditions in the pasture that serves as our visitor parking area,” said Jerry Wasdin, one of the event organizers. “We’re concerned that the ground will not dry out in time to provide reliable parking at the event, and cars might get stuck in the mud.”
Organizers have ruled out the possibility of rescheduling the event for a later date in 2014, Wasdin said. Possibilities for a 2015 open house will be discussed in the weeks to come.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist has moved one step closer to his goal of eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens by removing 80 percent of them in whole peanuts.
Scientists must eliminate peanut allergens below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 percent of those with peanut allergies would be safe. It’s challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, he said, because doing so may risk destroying peanuts’ texture, color, flavor and nutrition. But he said he’s using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.
Yang, whose study is published online in this month’s issue of the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far. He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.
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.
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 …)
video available at http://youtu.be/eeKyE3EmPFE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With the start of another school year, a University 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 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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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida-led research team’s development of a tracking system could change the way companies ship fresh fruits and vegetables, letting them know which produce is closest to expiration and providing consumers the freshest products available. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Taste trumps health benefits for blueberry buyers, sending a strong message that fruit consumers value flavor most, new University of Florida research shows.
About 61 percent of blueberry consumers buy the fruit for its flavor, while 39 percent do so for psychological reasons, according to two national online surveys. By “psychological,” researchers mean those consumers may buy blueberries because they believe the fruit, which contains antioxidants, provides health benefits.
UF horticultural sciences assistant professor Jim Olmstead will use the data as he breeds new types of blueberries. Olmstead uses traditional breeding methods to create blueberry cultivars that have traits consumers want.
“What we’re trying to determine is: What is the consumer’s perception of the ideal blueberry? What should it look, taste and feel like?” said Olmstead, a faculty member with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – While necessary for some, many people eat gluten-free diets because they believe they’ll gain certain health benefits, but these beliefs are not all supported by research, a University of Florida nutrition expert says.
Those with celiac disease, or about 1 percent of the U.S. population, must follow a gluten-free diet because it’s the only treatment for their condition, said Karla Shelnutt, a UF assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences. But gluten-free diets can lack essential nutrients if a person does not eat a balanced diet and/or take a multivitamin supplement.
Unlike their conventional counterparts, refined gluten-free foods, for the most part, are not enriched or fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.