College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

How ‘bout them apples?

Do you have a good gut feeling about apples? Your body may — and that could be important to your overall health.

Some of the components of apples survive their trip through the upper part of the human digestive tract. Non-digestible compounds, including fiber and substances called polyphenols, stand up to chewing and the effects of enzymes in spit. They even remain intact after a bath in stomach acid. These compounds move all the way to the colon, where they undergo a transformation that can be quite beneficial to you.

The non-digestible compounds are fermented in the colon. That’s right, you could say you have … » More …

WSU’s Voice of the Vine: Water-saving, wine donation, grape sustainability and, wine matrix

November 2014

WSU wins national award for water-saving research

Water scarcity – one of the toughest challenges predicted for the 21st century – is being addressed by Washington State University. As part of a multistate research program, WSU is among 19 land-grant universities honored recently for efforts to help farmers irrigate land more efficiently, especially during droughts and water shortages.

“A safe, reliable supply of water is inextricably linked to food security,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“The five-fold increase in irrigated acres that took place during the 20th century cannot … » More …

Bones can tell quite a story

His teeth had no cavities, but they were heavily worn. He was about my height — some 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He wasn’t petite, likely weighing around 160 pounds. Well before his death, he broke six of his ribs. Five of them never healed, but he kept going nevertheless.

A recent article in “The Smithsonian Magazine details all this and more about Kennewick Man, an ancient skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia River in south-central Washington State in 1996. The occasion for the article is the publication of a 680-page book on Kennewick Man being released this fall by Texas A&M University … » More …

WSU’s On Solid Ground: Plant Mutations, Food Labels, Rebuilding Soil, and Bioenergy Workforce

November 2014

Center helps scientists measure light to find mutations

Plants use light during photosynthesis. But they also give off light, though in amounts so small we can’t see it. The amount of light changes based on the plant’s environment and genetic makeup.

Scientists at the WSU Phenomics Center can detect this light, or fluorescence, measure it and use it to identify genetic mutations in plants. The center is now available to researchers on campus and beyond.

Though the center has been working with WSU researchers since 2011 – see earlier article – technicians and managers are ready to offer analytical services to scientists … » More …

Breeding better wheat

Earlier this year I went to a fundraiser where I bought a bag of Glee flour. Glee is a variety of hard red spring wheat that was developed at Washington State University. I used the flour in my favorite bread recipe, one I have modified a bit from a Mennonite cookbook I treasure.

There’s a bit of soy flour and powered milk in my bread, which ups the protein content. The recipe calls for 50 percent white flour, 40 percent whole wheat, and 10 percent rye. I used the Glee flour as the white flour. When I set the dough in a slightly warm oven, … » More …

WSU’s On Solid Ground: An apple a day, Big Data, Potato Crops, Cereal Grain Defense, Poplar Products

October 2014

An apple a day could keep obesity away

GiulianaNorattoWSU scientists have concluded that non digestible compounds in Granny Smith apples may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in this month’s Food Chemistry.

“We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties,” said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study’s lead researcher. “Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple … » More …

The start of a better trend for diabetes

“Eat right and exercise.”

It’s good advice. But millions of us Americans struggle every day to live up to our hopes regarding diet and activity. Some of us are pretty good at one thing (for me, it’s exercise) but not good at the other (starch and sweets make up too much of my diet). It just ain’t easy to both eat right and exercise, and do so every day.

But maybe we have been making some progress on our personal goals regarding diet and activity. It looks like our collective efforts to address obesity — and associated diseases like diabetes — may be starting to … » More …

WSU’s Voice of the Vine: Brains to Grapes, Wine in Provence, Inmates as Researchers, and Blackleaf in Grapes

October 2014 From brains to grapes

Three months ago, Berenice Burdet was in Argentina, studying the intricacies of the human brain. Now, she is in central Washington, studying something slightly different: sugar transporter genes in wine grapes.

“Before this I was working with brains and rats. Now, I’m working with berries,” said Burdet, a postdoctoral research associate at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. “The physiology, the anatomy — everything is different.”

The transition from neurobiology to viticulture was difficult, but it was something she really wanted to do, Burdet said. In Argentina she visited vineyards and, through her family, became … » More …

Washington State University

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