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.
An apple a day could keep obesity away
WSU 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 … » More …
Cattle could protect butterflies, conserve prairies
Butterflies, cattle and the military may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but for native prairies—some of the most threatened habitats in the world—the trio are closely connected.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the improbable pairing of cattle grazing and native prairie conservation is not only compatible, but mutually beneficial. Carefully managed grazing regimes can improve weed control and plant health, help re-establish native plants, and increase plant diversity compared with an unmanaged system. However, until now no systematic study has attempted to track the impacts of managed grazing on native prairie plant communities in western Washington.
Scientists at WSU, in partnership with … » More …
New bark beetle threatens Washington forests
Five years ago, when entomologist Todd Murray received a call from a landowner in Underwood whose ponderosa pine trees were dying, he wasn’t surprised. The trees had been stressed by a nearby fire, a situation that commonly results in a flare-up of bark beetles that can kill the trees. But the calls kept coming.
“People were saying things like, ‘I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen pine trees die like this,’” said Murray, WSU Extension director for Skamania County. “The situation has worsened since then.”
At the time, Murray didn’t know that the culprit was a … » More …
Preventing foodborne illness, naturally
Seeking ways to prevent some of the most serious foodborne illnesses caused by pathogenic bacteria, two Washington State University scientists have found promise in an ancient, but common cooking spice: cinnamon.
Recent findings published in Food Control suggest Cinnamomum cassia oil can work effectively as a natural antibacterial agent in the food industry. The study results add to a body of knowledge that will help improve food safety and reduce or eliminate cases of food poisoning and related deaths.
In the study, the essential oil killed several strains of Shiga toxin-producing … » More …
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