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Stemilt brings locales to life in new Rushing Rivers Pear video

Rushing-Rivers-Pears

Stemilt is giving consumers a look at its world renowned pear locales in a new video that highlights the company’s heritage and its position growing and packing pears in Washington state’s Wenatchee and Entiat river valleys.

The video features high-definition aerial footage that was shot by a drone helicopter during harvest. Throughout the short video, second-generation pear growers Mike Taylor and Rudy Prey tell the story of where Stemilt’s Rushing Rivers pears come from and what makes the two river valleys the best in the world for growing pears.

The Rushing Rivers pear video debuted at PMA Fresh Summit, and now Stemilt has taken it to its website, blog and social media channels in order to share with consumers what makes Rushing Rivers pears so unique.

“We know from research and our own engagement with consumers that people want to know where their food comes from and who grew it, so we focused this video on telling that story,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release.Rushing-Rivers-Pears “The locales Rushing Rivers pears come from are to pears what the Napa Valley is to wine. We want consumers to experience these locales and visually sharing our farms and passion for quality with them in this video allows them to do just that.”

Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin Hi-Up Growers, have been growing pears in the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley for decades. These two river valleys run parallel of each other and are separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. The alpine peaks keep orchards cool during the warm summer months and serve to protect delicate pears. The two rivers are recharged by fresh mountain snowpack each spring to provide a pure and plentiful water source for producing dessert-flavored pears.

“The video focuses on the unique features of the Wenatchee and Entiat river valleys and how those features combine to create a perfect growing environment where pears thrive. It’s the story that our family growers in the area have known and told for so long, and the story that consumers hear first-hand in the Rushing Rivers pear video,” Pepperl said in the release.

Back in August, Stemilt introduced “Rushing Rivers” as its label for pears and began packing pears in a new carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” and just like the video, helps tell the story of where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.

“The ‘Rushing Rivers’ label and new carton is already proving to be a great merchandising vehicle for pears,” Pepperl said. “Displays and signage around Rushing Rivers allow retailers to bring the beauty of where Stemilt pears come from and the passion that goes into growing each one, into their stores. Pears should be prominently displayed during the late fall and winter seasons and promoting Rushing Rivers pears is a perfect way to build category excitement and repeat purchases among shoppers.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

A-maize-ing double life of a genome

Early maize farmers selected for genes that improved the harvesting of sunlight, a new detailed study of how plants use ‘doubles’ of their genomes reveals. The findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.

Oxford University researchers captured a ‘genetic snapshot’ of maize as it existed 10 million years ago when the plant made a double of its genome — a ‘whole genome duplication’ event. They then traced how maize evolved to use these ‘copied’ genes to cope with the pressures of domestication, which began around 12,000 years ago. They discovered that these copied genes were vital to optimizing photosynthesis in maize leaves and that early farmers selecting for them ‘fuelled’ the transformation of maize into a high-yield crop.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Genome Research.

‘Although whole genome duplication events are widespread in plants finding evidence of exactly how plants use this new ‘toolbox’ of copied genes is very difficult,’ said Dr Steve Kelly of Oxford University’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the report. ‘With crops like wheat it’s not yet possible for us to unravel the ‘before and after’ of the associated genetic changes, but with maize we can chart how these gene copies were first acquired, then put to work, and finally ‘whittled down’ to create the modern maize plant farmed today.’

It is particularly useful for such genetic detective work that close relatives of maize did not duplicate their genomes 10 million years ago: those that retained a single copy went on to become the plant we now know as sorghum. This enabled the researchers to compare genetic data from these ‘duplicated’ and ‘non-duplicated’ descendants of ancient maize, something that is not yet possible with other duplicated crops like wheat.

In the wild plants have to overcome the challenges posed by pathogens and predators in order to survive. However, once domestication by humans began plants grown as crops had to cope with a new set of artificial selection pressures, such as delivering a high yield and greater stress tolerance.

‘Whole genome duplication events are key in allowing plants to evolve new abilities,’ said Dr Kelly. ‘Understanding the complete trajectory of duplication and how copied genes can transform a plant is relevant for current efforts to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of crops, such as the C4 Rice Project [c4rice.irri.org/]. Our study is great evidence that optimizing photosynthesis is really important for creating high-yield crops and shows how human selection has ‘sculpted’ copies of genes to create one of the world’s staple food sources.’

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Pesticides make the life of earthworms miserable

Pesticides are sprayed on crops to help them grow, but the effect on earthworms living in the soil under the plants is devastating, new research reveals: The worms only grow to half their normal weight and they do not reproduce as well as worms in fields that are not sprayed.

Pesticides have a direct impact on the physiology and behavior of earthworms, a Danish/French research team reports after having studied earthworms that were exposed to pesticides over generations.

“We see that the worms have developed methods to detoxify themselves, so that they can live in soil sprayed with fungicide. They spend a lot of energy on detoxifying, and that comes with a cost: The worms do not reach the same size as other worms, and we see that there are fewer of them in sprayed soil. An explanation could be that they are less successful at reproducing, because they spend their energy on ridding themselves of the pesticide,” the researchers, Ph. D. student Nicolas Givaudan and associate professor, Claudia Wiegand, say.

Claudia Wiegand is from the Department of Biology at University of Southern Denmark, and she led the research together with Francoise Binet from University Rennes 1 in France. Nicolas Givaudan is doing his Ph. D. as a joint degree between University of Southern Denmark and University of Rennes 1 in France. They researchers reached their findings by metabolomic profiling and energetic parameters.

The researchers set up an experiment to study the behavior of the earthworm species Aporectodea caliginosa. They moved two portions of farmed soil with worms into the lab. One portion was taken from a local organic field, the other from a local conventionally cultivated field that had been sprayed with fungicide for 20 years. This soil had remnants of the internationally commonly used fungicide Opus® at a level common in fields. When crops are sprayed with fungicide, only a small part of the chemical is absorbed by the plant. The waste can be up to 70 per cent, and much of the fungicide ends up in the soil.

In the laboratory, the researchers could see how the fungicide-exposed worms adapted to the toxic environment. Over generations the worms have developed a method to detoxify themselves.

“The fungicide increased metabolism rate in the worms, both the adapted worms and the not adapted worms. In the not adapted worms we saw that their energy reserve of glycogen was used faster. Contrastingly, only in the adapted worms we saw that amino acids and protein contents increased, suggesting a detoxification mechanism. “They also increased their feeding activity, possibly to compensate for the increase in energy demand,” the researchers said.

Often there are 2 — 3 times more earthworms in unsprayed soil than in sprayed soil.

“The reason for this may be that earthworms in sprayed soil do not reproduce as successfully as worms in unsprayed soil, because they need to spend more energy on detoxifying,” the researchers say.

They also weighed the worms in the experiment and found that the worms exposed to fungicide weighed only half of the worms in organic soil. Worms in organic soil had an average weight of 0.6 grams, worms in conventionally cultivated soil had an average weight of 0.3 grams.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Women need to find balance between work and personal life, panelists say

Women in the grocery business have to figure out how to balance work and family more so than men do, a panel of women acknowledged during a workshop session Tuesday at the annual convention of the National Grocers Association in Las Vegas. “It’s hard for a woman to advance in the grocery business and take an opening or closing shift when she’s trying to raise a child as a single parent, and that often can hold women back from promotions,” Lauren Johnson, COO for Newport …

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Eco-friendly ProduceShield extends shelf life, reduces pathogens

A new product rolled out in October has been shown to beat back spoilage organisms and extend shelf-life for fresh produce as well as offer a sustainable pathogen-fighting wash that outperforms chlorine or acid-based alternatives, according to developer CMS Technology.

The Danbury, CT-based firm developed ProduceShield after a team of scientists worked more than six years developing an environmentally friendly, FDA-certified as Generally Recognized as Safe product that can respond to the growing instances of foodborne outbreaks, Harley Langberg, operations director for CMS Technology, told The Produce News.

It relies on a positively charged, cationic carrier technology that remains stable in cold and hot temperatures and can be used in wide-ranging environments, said Langberg.

And unlike other washes, ProduceShield does not have to be rinsed after application, and companies tell CMS that they’re looking for alternatives to chlorine and acid-based products because there’s concern bacteria are becoming resistant to these technologies or can reappear after the product is rinsed off, according to Langberg.

Firms that have been using chlorine for more than 20 years are beginning to look for alternatives, especially as new federal food-safety regulations are coming down the pike from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, said Langberg, adding that the product is an effective weapon against E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

“We’ve shown we’re better than anything out there,” said Langberg, pointing to the product’s success in killing off spoilage bacteria and extending shelf life for commodities like leafy greens, butternut squash and strawberries.

The firm is focusing marketing efforts on three links in the food supply chain: supermarkets, universities and schools, and farm and processors.

Langberg said ProduceShield can be used on the farm as part of its post-harvest spray before product is sent to processors or supermarkets. In supermarkets, it can be applied to protect against spoilage and bacteria from the handling of produce. Some supermarkets just use water or a citrus wash.

The new product also has tremendous benefit in schools and universities.

“They want something that protects against spoilage and protects the children,” Langberg said.

Georgia-based Kennesaw State University has successfully integrated ProduceShield into its food program that serves 7,000 meals a day. Known as a leader in food safety and sustainability efforts, the school was recognized last year by the National Restaurant Association with its Innovator of the Year Award.

The university found produce washed with ProduceShield lasts two to three weeks longer than if the fruits and vegetables were washed in water, which is a huge benefit for a school that manages its own farm, greenhouse and apple orchards.

“As food safety is at the forefront of our program, we appreciate not only the preservation qualities of your product but the eco-friendly component that ties in to our sustainability initiatives,” Gary Coltek, senior director of Kennesaw’s culinary and hospitality services, wrote in a testimonial about the product.

In the meantime, the company has contracted with a food-safety research institute to conduct further tests on its new technology, and it plans to ramp up marketing in the retail sector and extend the marketing reach to seafood, poultry and plastics.

For more information, log on to www.cmstechnology.com/produceshield.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Life scientists, colleagues differentiate microbial good and evil

TGF-FruitImageJan. 9, 2014 — To safely use bacteria in agriculture to help fertilize crops, it is vital to understand the difference between harmful and healthy strains. The bacterial genus Burkholderia, for example, includes dangerous disease-causing pathogens — one species has even been listed as a potential bioterrorist agent — but also many species that are safe and important for plant development.

Can the microbial good and evil be told apart? Yes, UCLA life scientists and an international team of researchers report Jan. 8 in the online journal PLOS ONE.

“We have shown that a certain group of Burkholderia, which have just been discovered in the last 12 years as plant-growth promoting bacteria, are not pathogenic,” said the study’s senior author, Ann Hirsch, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “This opens up the possibility of using these particular species for promoting plant growth through the process of nitrogen fixation, particularly in areas of climate change. This will have a major impact, especially on people in the developing world in producing protein-rich crops.”

Nitrogen fixation is a process by which helpful bacteria that have entered the roots of plants convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into ammonia, which helps the plants thrive. The findings of Hirsch and her colleagues indicate that several recently discovered Burkholderia species, including Burkholderia tuberum, could be used — cautiously — in nitrogen fixing. These species, the scientists discovered, lack those genes that make other Burkholderia species harmful agents of infection.

“Bacteria that fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, such as Burkholderia,are critical for plant growth,” said Hirsch, whose laboratory studies many aspects of the complex symbiosis between plants and bacteria. “We’re especially interested in these recently described Burkholderia species because they are found primarily in the dry and acidic soils of the Southern Hemisphere, making them potentially important for agriculture in less productive areas.”

For their study, the UCLA life scientists performed a bioinformatics analysis of four symbiotic Burkholderia species, all of which fix nitrogen and one, B. tuberum, which “nodulates legumes.” They found a strong distinction between genes in these beneficial strains and in pathogenic strains. They searched for genes typically involved in infection — for attaching to and invading cells or for secreting toxins. Unlike their dangerous cousins, the four symbiotic Burkholderia species did not have genes associated with the virulence systems found in the pathogenic species.

Burkholderia were first discovered as plant pathogens in 1949 by Walter Burkholder, who identified them as the agent causing onion-skin rot. Later, Burkholderia species were identified as the causative agent of the disease melioidosis, a public health threat, especially in tropical countries like Thailand and in parts of Australia. B. pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a potential bioterrorist agent.

Other Burkholderia belong to the Burkholderia cepacia complex, a group of related bacteria that are not true pathogens but can cause “opportunistic” or hospital-acquired infections in people with weakened immune systems or with cystic fibrosis. Although some members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex have been used to protect plants from dangerous fungal infections, their potential to cause infection has resulted in severe limits on their use in agriculture.

It wasn’t until many decades after Burkholder’s discovery that closely related Burkholderia species were found to enter plant roots not as pathogens but as helpful symbionts — generating root nodules in which the bacteria provide nitrogen fertilizer to the plant. Bacteria that cause the formation of these nodules in legumes, such as soybeans, alfalfa and peanuts, are crucial to sustainable agricultural systems, Hirsch said.

Although the nodulating, symbiotic species of Burkholderia are related to the more dangerous species, a detailed analysis of their evolutionary relationships published earlier this year by Hirsch and her colleagues showed that the two groups have a distinct evolutionary lineage.

The harmful Burkholderia species are more resistant to antibiotics than the symbiotic and agricultural strains. In addition to the bioinformatics analysis in the current study, the team analyzed resistance to a panel of common antibiotics, and tested the potential of different Burkholderia species to cause infection in laboratory conditions.

Experiments testing the potential of the four symbiotic species to cause infection in the small nematode worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans and in human cells grown in culture verified the bioinformatics analysis, showing that the bacteria were not harmful.

“We used a variety of detailed experiments to make sure that the symbiotic species are safe to put into farmers’ fields and home gardens, just like currently used nitrogen-fixing bacteria,” Hirsch said. “Our goal is to have these newly discovered nitrogen-fixing bacteria be used for a more sustainable approach to agriculture in the future.”

Co-authors of the PLOS ONE research included Annette Angus and Christina Agapakis, UCLA postdoctoral scholars in Hirsch’s laboratory; Stephanie Fong, Paul Yang, Nannie Song and Stephanie Kano, former UCLA undergraduate researchers in Hirsch’s laboratory; Shailaja Yerrapragada of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; Paulina Estrada-de los Santos of the department of microbiology at Mexico’s Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Prolongación de Carpio y Plan de Ayala; Jésus Caballero-Mellado (now deceased) of the Genomic Sciences Center at the National Autonomous University of Mexico; Sergio de Faria of Brazil’s Embrapa Agrobiologia; Felix Dakora of the chemistry department of Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa; and George

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

After Closures, Signs of Life at Star Market

Star Market has skated into high-profile new development at the site of the former Boston Garden arena. Officials in Boston late last month approved a plan that would allow Star Market to serve as a retail anchor of a $ 950 million development that will include residences, office space and a hotel. The planned 45,000-square-foot store would be the first new Star Market location in four years, according to Shane Sampson, president of West Bridgewater, Mass.-based Shaw’s and Star Market. …

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