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Researchers build searchable database of non-native plants

Ever wonder what that plant is in your yard that seems to be taking over? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a new website designed to help you figure it out.

Researchers with UF/IFAS’ Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants spent more than a year developing a searchable website and database to help Floridians assess problem — or just plain puzzling — non-native plants.

Plants that come into the United States from abroad can choke out crops, native plants and gardens or cause algae blooms that kill fish, and can even poison animals. Invasive species threaten Florida’s environment, economy and health and cost the United States an estimated $ 120 billion a year.

The Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas website and database is at http://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/. The site helps predict the invasion risk of non-native species in the state, as well as species proposed for introduction.

“One of our immediate goals was to take our existing database of non-native plant species and make it more readily available to both UF faculty/staff and the general public on a user friendly, easily searched website,” said Deah Lieurance, coordinator of the UF/IFAS Assessment. “We improved from the previous website by making the database accessible with search and filtering options. We also added more than 1,500 photos, links to distribution maps, information on where the plant is native, and growth forms — trees, vines, herbs or shrubs.”

The website features more than 800 species, easily searchable by common or scientific name, and results can be filtered. For example, results can be narrowed to vines that are safe to plant in North Florida. Scrolling through all the photos only takes a few minutes. The website shows a “caution” in some cases, “invasive not recommended,” in others and “prohibited” for species that pose the greatest ecological threats.

About 70 percent of the species in the database are not a problem, and in some cases may even be beneficial. A simple search will tell you when and where it’s safe to use plants such as Japanese holly and canna lily.

Luke Flory, an assistant professor in ecology with UF/IFAS, provides oversight of the assessment program and said everyone from weekend gardeners to professional landscapers to UF faculty and staff rely on the recommendations of the UF/IFAS assessment team when considering the use of nonnative plants.

“The new IFAS Assessment web site provides one more tool for Floridians to manage and conserve our valuable natural resources by helping to prevent further non-native plant invasions,” Flory said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers build searchable database of non-native plants

Ever wonder what that plant is in your yard that seems to be taking over? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a new website designed to help you figure it out.

Researchers with UF/IFAS’ Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants spent more than a year developing a searchable website and database to help Floridians assess problem — or just plain puzzling — non-native plants.

Plants that come into the United States from abroad can choke out crops, native plants and gardens or cause algae blooms that kill fish, and can even poison animals. Invasive species threaten Florida’s environment, economy and health and cost the United States an estimated $ 120 billion a year.

The Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas website and database is at http://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/. The site helps predict the invasion risk of non-native species in the state, as well as species proposed for introduction.

“One of our immediate goals was to take our existing database of non-native plant species and make it more readily available to both UF faculty/staff and the general public on a user friendly, easily searched website,” said Deah Lieurance, coordinator of the UF/IFAS Assessment. “We improved from the previous website by making the database accessible with search and filtering options. We also added more than 1,500 photos, links to distribution maps, information on where the plant is native, and growth forms — trees, vines, herbs or shrubs.”

The website features more than 800 species, easily searchable by common or scientific name, and results can be filtered. For example, results can be narrowed to vines that are safe to plant in North Florida. Scrolling through all the photos only takes a few minutes. The website shows a “caution” in some cases, “invasive not recommended,” in others and “prohibited” for species that pose the greatest ecological threats.

About 70 percent of the species in the database are not a problem, and in some cases may even be beneficial. A simple search will tell you when and where it’s safe to use plants such as Japanese holly and canna lily.

Luke Flory, an assistant professor in ecology with UF/IFAS, provides oversight of the assessment program and said everyone from weekend gardeners to professional landscapers to UF faculty and staff rely on the recommendations of the UF/IFAS assessment team when considering the use of nonnative plants.

“The new IFAS Assessment web site provides one more tool for Floridians to manage and conserve our valuable natural resources by helping to prevent further non-native plant invasions,” Flory said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers build searchable database of non-native plants

Ever wonder what that plant is in your yard that seems to be taking over? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a new website designed to help you figure it out.

Researchers with UF/IFAS’ Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants spent more than a year developing a searchable website and database to help Floridians assess problem — or just plain puzzling — non-native plants.

Plants that come into the United States from abroad can choke out crops, native plants and gardens or cause algae blooms that kill fish, and can even poison animals. Invasive species threaten Florida’s environment, economy and health and cost the United States an estimated $ 120 billion a year.

The Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas website and database is at http://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/. The site helps predict the invasion risk of non-native species in the state, as well as species proposed for introduction.

“One of our immediate goals was to take our existing database of non-native plant species and make it more readily available to both UF faculty/staff and the general public on a user friendly, easily searched website,” said Deah Lieurance, coordinator of the UF/IFAS Assessment. “We improved from the previous website by making the database accessible with search and filtering options. We also added more than 1,500 photos, links to distribution maps, information on where the plant is native, and growth forms — trees, vines, herbs or shrubs.”

The website features more than 800 species, easily searchable by common or scientific name, and results can be filtered. For example, results can be narrowed to vines that are safe to plant in North Florida. Scrolling through all the photos only takes a few minutes. The website shows a “caution” in some cases, “invasive not recommended,” in others and “prohibited” for species that pose the greatest ecological threats.

About 70 percent of the species in the database are not a problem, and in some cases may even be beneficial. A simple search will tell you when and where it’s safe to use plants such as Japanese holly and canna lily.

Luke Flory, an assistant professor in ecology with UF/IFAS, provides oversight of the assessment program and said everyone from weekend gardeners to professional landscapers to UF faculty and staff rely on the recommendations of the UF/IFAS assessment team when considering the use of nonnative plants.

“The new IFAS Assessment web site provides one more tool for Floridians to manage and conserve our valuable natural resources by helping to prevent further non-native plant invasions,” Flory said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Camelina used to build better biofuel

A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, is part of collaborative team that has received a four-year $ 1.5 million joint U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy grant. The project, led by Colorado State University, was one of 10 projects funded this year as part of the federal Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program.

Durrett and collaborators are developing Camelina sativa as a biodiesel crop for the Great Plains. Camelina, a nonfood oilseed crop, can be a valuable biofuel crop because it can grow on poorer quality farmland and needs little irrigation and fertilizer. It also can be rotated with wheat, Durrett said.

“Camelina could give farmers an extra biofuel crop that wouldn’t be competing with food production,” Durrett said. “This research can add value to the local agricultural economy by creating an additional crop that could fit in with the crop rotation.”

The research will take advantage of the recently sequenced camelina genome. For the project, Durrett is improving camelina’s oil properties and by altering the plant’s biochemistry to make it capable of producing low-viscosity oil.

Developing low-viscosity oil is crucial to improving biofuels, Durrett said. Regular vegetable oil is too viscous for a diesel engine, so the engine either has to be modified or the vegetable oil has to be converted to biodiesel. Camelina could provide a drop-in fuel that could address this issue.

“By reducing the viscosity, we want to make a biofuel that can be used directly by a diesel engine without requiring any kind of chemical modification,” Durrett said. “We would be able to extract the oil directly and use it in a diesel engine right away.”

Although low-viscosity oils are a valuable fuel source, they also are valuable for a variety of other industrial uses, such as plasticizers, biodegradable lubricants and food emulsifiers, Durrett said.

The research also could create a value-added product for farmers. Modified oils have the potential to become more valuable than regular vegetable oil, Durrett said.

“It is important to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but the hope is that we also could help improve the rural economy by giving farmers a value-added product that they can produce directly,” Durrett said. “Rather than having a chemical company or a biofuel company take raw vegetable oil and modify it, the plant actually performs the chemistry and the farmers harvest that value-added product themselves.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Walmart to build new e-commerce fulfillment center

Wal-Mart Stores said it would build a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Lainfield, Ind. Officials said the 1.2-million-square-foot facility, expected to be operational early next year, would provide one- or two-day Internet order fulfillment capabilities from Texas to east of the Mississippi. 

The company plans to begin hiring for the new fulfillment center in October.

“By combining large-scale online fulfillment centers with Walmart’s distribution centers, world-class transportation network and 4,200 stores, we have the ability to get incredibly close to our customers to deliver orders faster and at a lower cost,” Brent Beabout, SVP of supply chain and logistics for Walmart global e-commerce, said in a statement. “This center alone will allow cost-effective delivery to more than 160 million people in just one to two days.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the company up to $ 2.9 million in conditional tax credits and up to $ 200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans.

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Supermarket News

Loblaw to build Cornwall DC

Loblaw is set to begin construction of a new distribution center in Cornwall, Ontario, city officials said.


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The facility is expected to be completed and occupied no later than December of 2016, according to an agreement between the retailer and Cornwall’s Economic Development agency, announced late last week. The new site will be built on a 121-acre parcel acquired by Loblaw through a subsidiary.

The facility will join a business park where Wal-Mart Stores and Target each operate 1.4 million-square-foot distribution centers. Shoppers Drug Mart, now a division of Loblaw, operates a 600,000-square-foot facility there.

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Supermarket News

Retailers build excitement for summer on social media

Now that the weather is warming in most parts of the country, retailers are responding to the grateful collective sigh of consumers about summer. Supermarkets are promoting anything and everything summer related on Twitter. 

Jewel-Osco in Chicago, for instance, announced a planting events for kids late May through June. Kids will be able to leave with their own seedling.

MOM’s Organic Market, based in Rockville, Md., displayed some private label sun protection for those seasonal activities.

Last week, Giant Eagle’s Market District, gave a view of its barbecue station set up outside the store. Shoppers can purchase barbecue meat, baked potatoes, icead tea or bottled water.

Supermarket News

Study: E. Coli Bacteria Can Build Resistance Quickly, Even To Ionizing Radiation

Totally on their own, E. coli bacteria have shown that they can evolve to a point where they are resistant to antibiotic drugs. Now some of the nation’s top scientists are showing how E. coli bacteria can resist ionizing radiation. They are taking advantage of the bacteria’s built-in ability to evolve when they encounter hostilities in the environment.

“Evolution of extreme resistance to ionizing radiation via genetic adaptation of DNA repair” is the name of the study by a 12-member research team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Louisiana State University and A&M College. The findings of the study are published in the online journal eLife.

According to the University of Wisconsin, the scientists involved in the study “coaxed the model bacterium Escherichia coli to dramatically resist ionizing radiation and, in the process, reveal the genetic mechanisms that make the feat possible.”

The study found that E. coli could withstand doses radiation that would otherwise doom a microbe after only a handful of genetic mutations. Authors of the study said their findings provide understanding of how organisms can resist radiation damage to cells and repair damaged DNA.

“What our work shows is that the repair systems can adapt and those adaptations contribute a lot to radiation resistance, “ says Michael Cox, senior author of the report.

Earlier work by Cox, a biochemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and John R. Battista, Louisiana State University professor of biological science, found that E. coli could evolve to resist ionizing radiation after being exposed to highly radioactive isotope cobalt-60.

“We blasted the cultures until 99 percent of the bacteria were dead, “ Cox said. “Then we’d grow up the survivors and blast them again.” When it was over, the E. coli could resist ionizing radiation at four orders of magnitude.

By way of comparison, they make E. coli similar to Deinococcus radiodurans, a bacterium found in the desert and shown in the 1950s to be “remarkably resistant to radiation.” That bacterium can survive 1,000 times the radiation that would kill a human.

“Deinococcus evolved mainly to survive desiccation, not radiation, “ Cox said. He said Deinococcus can repair itself and start growing again very quickly.

The study means it might be possible in the future to use designer microbes to help clean radioactive waste sites or to use probiotics to help patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Food Safety News

Urban bees using plastic to build hives

Once the snow melts, Canada’s bee population will be back in business — pollinating, making honey and keeping busy doing bee things. For at least two urban bee species, that means making nests out of plastic waste.

A new study by a University of Guelph graduate and a U of G scientist reveals that some bees use bits of plastic bags and plastic building materials to construct their nests. The research was published recently in the journal Ecosphere.

It’s an important discovery because it shows bees’ resourcefulness and flexibility in adapting to a human-dominated world, says lead author Scott MacIvor, a doctoral student at York University and a 2008 U of G graduate.

“Plastic waste pervades the global landscape,” said MacIvor. Although researchers have shown adverse impacts of the material on species and the ecosystem, few scientists have observed insects adapting to a plastic-rich environment, he said.

“We found two solitary bee species using plastic in place of natural nest building materials, which suggests innovative use of common urban materials.

Figuring out that the bees were using plastics in place of natural materials took some detective work by U of G’s Andrew Moore, supervisor of analytical microscopy at Laboratory Services.

Moore analyzed a grey “goo” that MacIvor discovered in the nests of one kind of bee, Megachile campanulae, which uses plant resins to build its nests,

“Scott thought it might be chewing gum originally,” Moore said. His team uses a scanning electron microscope to take highly detailed pictures of items, x-ray microanalysis to determine the elements in the sample and infrared microscopy to identify polymers. They can distinguish the finest detail on the surface of an animal hair.

Turns out that M. campanulae was occasionally replacing plant resins with polyurethane-based exterior building sealant, such as caulking, in its brood cells–created in a nest to rear larva.

The researchers also discovered another kind of bee, Megachile rotundata, an alfalfa leafcutter, was using pieces of polyethylene-based plastic bags to construct its brood cells. The glossy plastic replaced almost one-quarter of the cut leaves normally used to build each cell.

Markings showed that the bees chewed the plastic differently than they did leaves, suggesting that the insects had not incidentally collected plastic. Nor were leaves hard to find for the bees in the study.

“The plastic materials had been gathered by the bees, and then worked — chewed up and spit out like gum — to form something new that they could use,” Moore said.

In both cases, larvae successfully developed from the plastic-lined nests. In fact, the bees emerged parasite-free, suggesting plastic nests may physically impede parasites, the study said.

The nests containing plastic were among more than 200 artificial nest boxes monitored by MacIvor as part of a large-scale investigation of the ecology of urban bees and wasps, a project involving numerous citizen scientists.

The nest boxes are located in Toronto and the surrounding region in backyards, community gardens and parks and on green roofs. They are used by a variety of bee species.

“The novel use of plastics in the nests of bees could reflect the ecologically adaptive traits necessary for survival in an increasingly human-dominated environment,” MacIvor said.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Azerbaijan intends to build fruit-vegetable logistic centre in Russia

Azerbaijan intends to build fruit-vegetable logistic centre in Russia

Azerbaijan intends to establish a logistics center in the Ural Region of Russia for the organization of fruit-vegetable production, APA reports, quoting press service of Sverdlovsk province.

Consul General of Azerbaijan in Yekaterinburg, Sultan Gasimov, said at his meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Sverdlovsk Province, Alexei Orlov, that fruit-vegetable volume entering the market is large and it’s important to construct modern storehouses supplied with conditioning, assorting and packaging systems: “We are ready to construct these storehouses with the participation of the International Bank of Azerbaijan”.

Source: en.apa.az

Publication date: 8/2/2013


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