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IFAS News

University of Florida

Research shows emotional intelligence critical for leaders

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Chris Mott

Chris Mott

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Diet and exercise can help people lead more effectively, a new University of Florida research project shows.

Chris Mott, a UF doctoral student in agricultural leadership development, investigated how food and lifestyle impact emotional intelligence, an idea that calls for people to manage feelings so they can express them appropriately and effectively.

“We know that prior research separately links the food we eat and exercise (or the lack thereof) with the brain, triggering neurogenesis and affecting moods,” Mott said. “But this study is the first of its kind that ties diet, exercise and emotional intelligence together. Emotional intelligence is about knowing one’s true self and using awareness to best respond and relate to others ─ vital for a trusted and effective leader.”

(more …)

Five years after oil spill, survey shows Gulf Coast residents are still impacted

Topic(s): Aquaculture, CALS, Disaster Preparedness, Environment, Families and Consumers, Pollution
Families, fishermen and birds enjoying sunset at the beach in Naples, Florida.  Shore, coast, sundown, fishing, leisure and recreation.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five years after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men and sent at least 210 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, people along the coast are gathering for a three-city regional forum Thursday. Participants will discuss the spill’s effects on their communities, its lasting impacts and how to prepare for another major disaster.

The regional forum will include the release of results from a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey of Gulf Coast residents from Baldwin County, Ala., to Cedar Key, Fla. The survey looked at coastal residents’ opinions of the status of their recovery five years after the DWH disaster.

Findings indicated that respondents’ levels of satisfaction were lower five years after the spill than before it in several topic areas. This included levels of satisfaction with their community’s economy, community leadership and programs, local media, Gulf coast seafood industry, faith-based organizations and emergency response efforts. (more …)

“The Meat We Eat” a popular course that improves attitudes

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock, Nutrition

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some people are changing their attitudes about the meat industry after taking the popular online course, “The Meat We Eat.”

The course, intended to give the consumer a more educated view of the meat industry, started up again April 20, and so far, about 5,000 people are registered. Chad Carr, a UF/IFAS animal sciences associate professor and meat Extension specialist, hopes that number rises above last year’s enrollment of 20,000 – students from around the world.

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UF study shows seafood samples had no elevated contaminant levels from oil spill

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Environment, Food Safety, IFAS, Pollution, Research, Safety
Clam fishermen harvesting bags of mature clams off the coast of Cedar Key, Florida. Ocean, boat,gulf, fishing.   UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A sampling of more than 1,000 Gulf of Mexico fish, shrimp, oysters and blue crabs taken from Cedar Key, Fla., to Mobile Bay, Ala., between 2011 to 2013, shows no elevated contaminant levels, according to a seafood safety study conducted by Dr. Andrew Kane and colleagues at the University of Florida.  In fact, some 74 percent of the seafood tested showed no quantifiable levels of oil contaminants at all.

“Seafood appears as safe to eat now as it was before the spill,” said , associate professor of environmental and global health and director of the Aquatic Pathobiology Laboratory at UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. (more …)

$2 million UF/IFAS study to focus on antibiotic resistance; $500,000 study on taste retention

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Economics, Environment, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Kwang Cheol (K.C.) Jeong, Ph.D. UF/IFAS Photo. 2011.Kevin Folta.  UF/IFAS File Photo.

Jeong, left, and Folta, right

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist will try to figure out how antibiotic-resistant microorganisms get into cattle. Another will study how to get tomatoes and strawberries to retain their flavors and last longer.

The two vastly different questions will be the focus of separate studies led by UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has awarded KC Jeong $2.19 million to study the cattle antibiotic question. NIFA also has awarded Kevin Folta and Thomas Colquhoun $500,000 to investigate the strawberry/tomato issue.

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UF/IFAS Natural Resources Leadership Institute, Class XIV, graduates today

Topic(s): Environment, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As cap and gown season kicks off, one group of people is being recognized for its dedication to Florida’s environment.  The University of Florida’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute, Class XIV, ends this weekend, with a graduation and practicum presentation scheduled for today.

NRLI is an eight month professional development program. Each intensive, three-day session is held in a different part of the state. Class XIV focused on the topic of “Water and Land Use: Managing Water in a Changing Landscape.”  (more …)

How teachers and parents can help budding bug enthusiasts

Topic(s): Agriculture, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS

A green grasshopper resembling a leaf standing on pavement.  Insects and bugs.  UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Do you know kids who can’t get enough of spiders, crickets and lightning bugs? Do they keep creepy-crawly things in glass jars in their bedroom?

They might just want to grow up to be an entomologist, a fancy word for a person who studies insects. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is here to help your budding bug enthusiast follow their passion with a host of activities featured during Bug Week 2015, taking place May 18-23. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Mushrooms boost immunity

Topic(s): IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Susan Percival

UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Professor Sue Percival

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Could a mushroom a day help keep the doctor away?

A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.

Of the thousands of mushroom species globally, about 20 are used for culinary purposes. Shiitake mushrooms are native to Asia and are cultivated for their culinary and medicinal value.

In a 2011 study led by UF Food Science and Human Nutrition Professor Sue Percival, 52 healthy adults, age 21 to 41, came to the Gainesville campus, where researchers gave them a four-week supply of dry shiitake mushrooms. Participants took the mushrooms home, cleaned and cooked them. Then they ate one, 4-ounce serving of mushrooms each day during the experiment.

Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins.

(more …)

UF/IFAS Extension program to control Tropical Soda Apple earns national award

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biocontrols, Economics, Environment, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Invasive Species

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — St. Lucie County ranchers have saved an estimated $850,000 a year, thanks to University of Florida experts who taught them how to release a beetle to eat an invasive plant that normally elbows out valuable cattle forage.

“Using the Tropical Soda Apple beetle has resulted in significant cost savings for ranchers while at the same time protecting the environment by reducing the need to use herbicides,” said St. Lucie County Extension agent Ken Gioeli, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The program, which uses beetles to biologically control the Tropical Soda Apple (TSA) on St. Lucie County ranches, has won the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals National Innovative Program Award. That’s the fourth straight year UF’s St. Lucie County Extension Office has won a national award.

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UF/IFAS offers “How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshop for entrepreneurs

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS

Cutting slices of fresh cucumber.  Cucumbes, food prep, knife, cooking, vegetables.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Have you been thinking of turning your grandma’s delicious cake recipe into a cake-selling business?  Or maybe all your friends have told you that you should bottle your homemade organic salsa and sell it?

Soo Ahn, a University of Florida assistant professor for food science and human nutrition, is hosting the “How to Start a Food Business in Florida – Introduction to Food Entrepreneurship” course on April 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 4: p.m. at the Straughn Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Professional Development Center. The workshop will offer general information on food safety and quality, basic food science, business planning, and federal and state regulatory requirements for food business in Florida. (more …)

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