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UW-Madison launches Microbiome Initiative

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

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Podcals

Seeds & vegetables in the future – Audio

Friday, January 20th, 2017

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Antibiotics off the beaten path

As more antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” emerge, it’s clear that we desperately need new antimicrobial drugs. Yet, over the past couple of decades, antibiotic discovery has largely been stagnant. “The reality is there’s almost no new antibiotics that are developed. And that’s because pharmaceutical companies have decreased their investment—in part because of the rediscovery issue,” explains bacteriology professor Cameron Currie. [caption id="attachment_21182" align="alignright" width="300"] Bar codes help the team keep track of the promising microbial strains they’re analyzing. Photo: Sevie Kenyon[/caption] The “rediscovery issue” refers to the fact that soil has historically been the prime source of new antibiotics—but it seems to be tapped out. When scientists screen soil microbes for new antibiotics, they keep finding the same compounds over and over again. Currie is part of a team that is looking elsewhere. Currie and his colleagues have been focusing their efforts on microbes that are associated with insects, plants and marine life from all around the United States, funded by a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that was awarded in 2014. “One of the major hurdles is finding new compounds, and that’s where ...
Monday, January 9th, 2017
-20170109
health-wellness
10
Antibiotics off the beaten path

From space to the field: Farmers test new technology to better predict crop yields

Images captured from satellites orbiting 440 miles above the Earth tell a powerful, richly detailed story about crop yields—revealing the lushness or deficits of fields with surprising precision. With the help of about 100 farmers so far as part of a citizen science project, researcher Phil Townsend and his team hope to coax even more valuable information from the satellite photos and change how farmers’ yields are reported and analyzed. [caption id="attachment_21141" align="alignright" width="350"] This map looking at soybean crops in the Upper Midwest shows how yields are predicted to vary even within the same county. Researchers are trying to verify their estimates by working with farmers to determine their actual yields. Photo courtesy of Aditya Singh/UW–Madison CALS[/caption] “The reporting of crop yields is now done at the county level with information confidentially reported by farmers to the USDA,” says Townsend, a professor of forest and wildlife ecology. “Counties can be very large. We now have the ability to analyze yields at the field level with these images, giving us much more accurate and granular data.” By tracking the greenness of fields from the ...
Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
-20161227
food-systems
10
From space to the field: Farmers test new technology to better predict crop yields
CALS in the Media

Grocery store offers ‘ugly’ produce to combat food waste

WISC TV
-20170120
cals-in-the-media
10
Grocery store offers ‘ugly’ produce to combat food waste
Food Systems

‘Magic’ plus UW science equal world-champ cheese

Wisconsin cheese is at least as old as the state. The University of Wisconsin–Madison has one of the world’s great institutions of dairy food science, the Center for Dairy Research. And yet when milk is converted into cheese, science only takes you so far, says Tom Dahmen, a second-generation cheesemaker who directs the Chula Vista cheese factory near Browntown, in southwestern Wisconsin. [caption id="attachment_21209" align="alignright" width="300"] Staff at Chula Vista Cheese Company package a batch of Oaxaca-style string cheese at the facility in Browntown, Wis. Photo: Jeff Miller[/caption] “I’m a big believer in heavy-duty science, but there is always a bit of magic in making cheese,” says Dahmen, who began washing cheesecloths at age 6. “The rest is intuition, experience, even black magic.” At Chula Vista, those ingredients are combined to produce a string cheese called Oaxaca. In March, Oaxaca (wa-HA-ka) received the Best in Class award in the Hispanic melting cheese category at the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison. The center helped the company create the cheese. Oaxaca is a white, mild-flavored cheese used in many Mexican dishes. The cheese gets its ...
Friday, January 20th, 2017
-20170120
food-systems
10
‘Magic’ plus UW science equal world-champ cheese
CALS in the Media

Meet the Farm Hackers Working to Make Growing Food More Efficient

Motherboard
-20170113
cals-in-the-media
10
Meet the Farm Hackers Working to Make Growing Food More Efficient
Health and Wellness

UW-Madison launches Microbiome Initiative

We are not alone. Each of us carries a wide array of microbial species that outnumber our cells tenfold. Recent studies have shown that the complement of microorganisms, the microbiome, is an important determinant of human health and disease. The microbiomes of other animals, plants, soil, bodies of water, and the atmosphere play similarly important roles. [caption id="attachment_21187" align="alignright" width="300"] Cell cultures in a petri dish. A new $1 million initiative to seed new lines of Wisconsin microbiome research will support interdisciplinary research and infrastructure. Photo: Jeff Miller[/caption] Our understanding of the diversity and roles of these microbiomes is limited, a fact that led the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to launch the National Microbiome Initiative last year. Stakeholders, including UW–Madison, have responded with new commitments to develop a comprehensive understanding of microbiomes across all ecosystems. A new UW–Madison Microbiome Initiative comes with $1 million in grant funding administered by the vice chancellor for research and graduate education to support interdisciplinary research, infrastructure, and research community enhancements related to the microbiome. “Microbiome science has the potential to revolutionize areas such as ...
Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
-20170111
health-wellness
10
UW-Madison launches Microbiome Initiative
CALS in the Media

Dairy farmers have reason to be optimistic in 2017

Wisconsin State Journal
-20170109
cals-in-the-media
10
Dairy farmers have reason to be optimistic in 2017