Latest Event Updates

$6.9 Million To Fund Milk Research

Posted on Updated on

141125_milk_1New funding will help researchers study the health-boosting compounds in cow’s milk.

Nov. 25, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

After spending more than a decade decoding breast milk’s important health-promoting constituents, a team of researchers in the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, is now doing the same for cow’s milk, with potential benefits both for human health and the U.S. dairy industry.

Focusing on a group of naturally occurring milk compounds called “glycans,” the researchers are identifying molecules that — like those in mom’s milk — interact with beneficial bacteria in the infant gut to ease digestion, prevent inflammation and even fight cancer.

Their research, which has had a long funding history, received two more votes of confidence from Read the rest of this entry »

Putting the Ag in Aggie

Posted on Updated on

141125_kaur-amajot_use

Nov. 25, 2014
University of California, Davis

The bigger the challenge, the more excited Amanjot Kaur gets about figuring it out.

“It kills me when I don’t understand something — it just makes me more determined,” said Kaur.

Kaur is no stranger to challenge. Born and raised in India, Kaur moved with her family to Livingston, California, when she was in the eighth grade. She found the transition jarring, especially at school, where she struggled to learn English and was the only Indian student.

Taking “baby steps” every day, Kaur gained fluency and overcame her isolation by joining the Future Farmers of America in high school. After competing at UC Davis Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day, she saw a future for herself in agriculture, and Davis became her dream school.

“I wanted to show my parents that our journey to the U.S. was worthwhile,” said Kaur. “I’m making their vision of me being the first in the family to graduate from college come true.”

Now a third-year undergraduate majoring in biotechnology, Kaur is an Aggie Ambassador for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She is active with high school outreach and campus tours, and co-coordinated Field Day last year.

Kaur is also proud to be a Central Valley Scholar, gaining hands-on experience and networking opportunities with regional businesses. Her ambition is to become the Read the rest of this entry »

Expanding California’s Water Supply

Posted on Updated on

View of Folsom Lake and Mormon Island during a drought from Beal's Point in Granite Bay, California in February 2014.
View of Folsom Lake and Mormon Island during a drought from Beal’s Point in Granite Bay, California in February 2014.
Nov. 20, 2014
By Kat Kerlin
University of California, Davis

California’s approval of a $7.5 billion water bond has bolstered prospects for expanding reservoirs and groundwater storage, but the drought-prone state can effectively use no more than a 15 percent increase in surface water storage capacity because of lack of water to fill it, according to a new analysis released Nov. 20.

The report by water engineers and scientists with the University of California, Davis, The Nature Conservancy and three prominent water consultants, said California could potentially use up to 6 million acre-feet in combined additional surface and groundwater storage — about a third more capacity than Shasta Reservoir. Exceeding this expansion runs into limits of available precipitation and the ability to transport water.

“Reservoir storage does not equate to water supply,” said Jay Lund, lead author of the report and director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Reservoirs cannot supply water without a water supply to fill them first.”

The report, “Integrating Storage in California’s Changing Water System,” evaluates the possibilities of Read the rest of this entry »

Student Farm Still Growing Strong

Posted on Updated on

Environmental science and management student Alexis Fujii harvests basil in a greenhouse at the Student Farm. (Photo: John Stumbos)
Environmental science and management student Alexis Fujii harvests basil in a greenhouse at the Student Farm. (Photo: John Stumbos)
Nov. 18, 2014
By CA&ES Outlook Magazine
University of California, Davis

Since 1977, the 20-acre Student Farm has given thousands of students with an interest in sustainable agriculture plenty of hands-on opportunities through internships, courses, and part-time jobs.

The heart of the operation is the Market Garden, managed by organic farmer Raoul Adamchak, and the Ecological Garden, managed by horticulturist and educator Carol Hillhouse. The Market Garden grows and sells about $100,000 of produce each year to community subscribers, campus dining services, and the student-run Coffee House. The Ecological Garden is filled with fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and small vegetable plots, and also hosts a Kids in the Garden program for area schoolchildren.

“We’re trying to teach students about the entire food system by involving them in it directly,” said Student Farm director Mark Van Horn. “We help them learn not only ‘what,’ but also ‘how’ and ‘why.’”

Study: Antimicrobial May Damage Liver, Raise Cancer Risk

Posted on

The study found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity and compromised liver function in mice. (Photo: Arlington County | http://bit.ly/1yPZOTt )
The study found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity and compromised liver function in mice. (Photo: Arlington County | http://bit.ly/1yPZOTt )

 A common antimicrobial found in common soaps may cause liver damage and raise cancer risk.

Nov. 18, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

Long-term exposure to triclosan, an antimicrobial agent commonly found in a broad array of soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and other consumer products, may have potentially serious health consequences, reports a research team including a UC Davis scientist.

Data from a new study shows that triclosan causes liver fibrosis and cancer in laboratory mice through molecular mechanisms that are also relevant for humans. The study, led by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, appears Nov. 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Triclosan’s increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice, particularly when combined with other compounds with similar action,” said Robert H. Tukey, a professor in UC San Diego’s departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Pharmacology.

Tukey led the study with Professor Bruce D. Hammock, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis Read the rest of this entry »

UC Davis Students Earn Awards For Work In Agricultural, Resource Economics

Posted on

UC Davis ARE Graduate students earn awards at conference in China. Left to Right: Gabriel Lade (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Candidate), Zhu Jing (Dean of the College of Economics and Management at Nanjing Agricultural University), Aleks Schaefer (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student), Firas Abu-Sneneh (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student).
UC Davis ARE Graduate students earn awards at conference in China. Left to Right: Gabriel Lade (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Candidate), Zhu Jing (Dean of the College of Economics and Management at Nanjing Agricultural University), Aleks Schaefer (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student), Firas Abu-Sneneh (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student).
Nov. 14, 2014
By Julie McNamara
UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Three UC Davis doctoral students in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) have received awards for research papers presented by graduate students at the 2014 International Conference on Food Security and Rural Development. The conference was held in October at Nanjing Agricultural University in China.

Aleks Schaefer received first prize in the rural finance category for the paper he presented, “Bilateral Trade Agreements, Climate Change, and Access to Fresh Produce: An Application to Thompson Seedless Table Grapes.”  The paper presents a conceptual framework to investigate the extent to which free trade agreements (FTAs) can improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Schaefer estimates the effects of the U.S.-Chile FTA on out-of-season access to fruits and vegetables and the degree to which FTAs can smooth in-season price spikes caused by extreme weather-related yield losses.

Firas Abu-Sneneh received second prize in the agricultural economics and rural resources category. He presented a paper co-authored with ARE professors Colin Carter and Aaron Smith, “Retail Gasoline Overcharge with Mandatory Ethanol Blending.”  The paper measures the economic effects of the U.S. EPA ethanol mandate on the pricing of ethanol in relation to gasoline blendstock and the associated impact on the retail price of blended gasoline. The authors find that refiners and blenders bid the price of ethanol above its energy content value to capture some of the blending profit ensured by the blending mandate. Read the rest of this entry »