Karnataka govt to fund two new agriculture centers

AgriLife Logo

Link to website
Jun 02, 2014

The state government will fund a centre each at the University of Horticultural Sciences in Bagalkot and International Centre for Agriculture at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad respectively.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced this after he met delegates from the Texas Agricultural and Management University, USA in Bangalore early last week.

Delegates from Texas A and M University, Mark Hussey, Interim President, and Bhimu Patil, director, Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, met chief minister Siddaramaiah along with vice-chancellor of UAS, Dharwad, D P Biradar. Bhimu Patil initiated the tieup between Texas A&M University (TAMU) and UAS-Dharwad (UASD) 12 years ago with the signing of an MoU under the guidance of Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug.

The success of the decade-long exchange activities among students and faculty, and reciprocal visits of administrators between the two institutes, the chief minister said had prompted Karnataka to immediately provide funds to start the two new centres.

VFIC director Bhimu Patil told Business Standard that the Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center’s (VFIC) Foods for Health Initiative and The Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture will play important roles as strategic partners to these new centres and provide training opportunities for scientists and students from the UAS-D and UHSB.

These interdisciplinary centres will collaborate with other agricultural and horticultural universities, institutes and centres that do work relating to medical sciences, food and nutrition sciences, in Karnataka and beyond. The Foods for Health Center will enhance the addition of value to fruits and vegetables, and food in general, by conducting research both at the VFIC and at the new Centre of Excellence in Bangalore.

The Centre will leverage the research conducted at the VFIC using the “Consumer to Farm” approach, including pre and post-harvest aspects of retaining health-promoting compounds, examining their role in human health to reduce risk from chronic diseases, and increasing food and nutritional security using commercial crops and unexplored vegetables and fruits.

It is anticipated that this Centre would focus on research and educational activities to reduce the risk of malnutrition, increase the value of produce grown in Karnataka, and enhance the export potential of specific crops.

“TAMU leads in international agriculture through The Borlaug Institute for Agriculture and the international centre at Dharwad, under a tieup with TAMU, would be a win-win for both institutes and the countries. The immediate goal of this centre will be to host international scientists after their retirement, to help them continue to contribute towards improving global agriculture. The centre will emulate and remember the legacy of Borlaug, who worked until the age of 95, in international agriculture, specifically in Indian agriculture, and feeding the world,” Bhimu Patil said.

Other activities planned in partnership with these two centres and TAMU include developing a Dual Certificate Program in food, nutritional security, and sustainability, and training selected scientists at the VFIC in the area of foods for health, with courses from horticultural and agricultural universities in the state.

New course brings in students from across the country

AgriLife Logo

New course brings in students from across the country

December 13, 2017 by Jeff Pool

College Station, Texas- Texas A&M University teamed up with three different schools across the country to create a different classroom experience for graduate students.

Lead instructor Dr. Bhimu Patil lectures his students on children’s health in their region

Lead instructor Dr. Bhimu Patil lectures his students on children’s health in their region

A USDA Higher Education Challenge grant helped develop a new, multi-disciplinary course called The Nexus of Food & Nutritional Security, Sustainability, and Hunger. The program uses video conferencing to connect Texas A&M with Ohio State University, Purdue University and Texas A&M Kingsville.

“We get to see the different perspectives of other campuses and really see what’s going on outside of our own school,” said Justin Buenger, a Texas A&M graduate student from Belville.

Texas A&M was chosen to lead this new course due to the recent success of two other courses funded by USDA-Challenge grants. Dr. Bhimu Patil, lead instructor in the course and principal investigator of the USDA grant, has shown that providing information from practical experiences of experts in the field rather than from a textbook is key to educating these students.

Texas A&M graduate students present their findings to Purdue University, The Ohio State University, and A&M Kingsville.

The classes are unlike any other because they use high impact learning experiences while connecting with students outside of Texas. Through discussion, students learn to work with organizations in their own communities that help and assist with insecure food areas.

“The course gets us out of the classroom and working, hands-on, in the field, with students from other majors,” said Pratibha Acharya, a graduate student from Pokhara, Nepal.

The purpose of the class is to teach these students about food insecurity and how to implement healthy living within their communities.

“Students are usually not aware of the problems with food insecurity in the world around them,” said Dr. Patil. “The class really opens their eyes to those problems in the United States.”

The series of classes are offered in the Fall semester every two years with Dr. Patil. For more information on the classes or how to sign up, visit https://agrilife.org/fnhs/.

Filed Under: Faculty, Graduate, High Impact Learning

Texas A&M conducts cantaloupe, honeydew research

AgriLife Logo

Honeydew

To understand changes in the melon industry — cantaloupe, honeydew and other varieties, but not watermelon — Texas A&M University is conducting a survey to gather information about all aspects of the industry.

The goal is to establish the needs and perceptions of melon stakeholders — consumers, producers and retailers, according to Bhimu Patil, director of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M and the project’s director.

“The outcome will help to develop new cultivars and varieties to make sure our research and outreach efforts will focus on the stakeholder needs and re-establish melon industry by developing domestic grown region-specific cultivars,” said Patil.

The center conducted similar surveys in 2009 and 2011. This year’s survey will help researchers understand if there are any changes in stakeholder needs concerning the melons, he said.

The survey will also shed light on changes in demands at all levels of the production chain.

“This year’s survey will help us to understand any changes in consumer, melon producer, retailer, national associations (such as the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association) needs,” Patil said. “Previous surveys provided strong evidence of developing flavorful, safer, healthy melons with disease resistance.”

Patil asks that all members of the melon industry, consumers, producers and retailers take the survey before the cutoff date of Feb. 23.

The survey, which is anonymous, takes about 8-10 minutes to complete, and is available at this website.

2017’s Fattest States in America

AgriLife Logo

https://wallethub.com/edu/fattest-states/16585/#bhimanagouda-s-patil

“Fat” is becoming the new normal in America. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than seven in 10 U.S. adults aged 20 and older are either overweight or obese. Rates are lower for children and adolescents but have risen steadily almost every year. So prevalent has America’s obesity problem grown that the weight-loss industry continues to expand. This year, Americans are expected to spend more than $68 billion just on programs designed to help them shed the extra pounds. The U.S. spends in total nearly $200 billion in annual health care costs related to obesity.

New findings by the Physical Activity Council suggest a need for more aggressive efforts to combat the issue. According to the report, nearly 81.5 million Americans aged 6 and older were completely inactive in 2016. Lack of physical activity is a leading cause of obesity, in addition to genetics, emotional instability and sleeplessness.

But the problem is bigger in some states than in others. To determine where obesity and overweight most dangerously persist, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 19 key metrics. Our data set ranges from share of obese and overweight population to sugary-beverage consumption among adolescents to obesity-related health care costs. Read on for our findings, expert commentary from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

For a more local perspective on the obesity and overweight problem in the U.S., check out WalletHub’s Fattest Cities report. Also to help spread awareness about diabetes, WalletHub assembled an interesting infographic exploring the impact of the disease as well as what folks are doing to fight back.

Source: WalletHub

Most & Least Obese States
Although this report examines the prevalence of obesity, it also evaluates the levels of inactivity and overweight in each state. However, given the particularly harmful effects of obesity, we constructed a separate table below that focuses just on obesity rates to highlight the states in which the problem is most concerning. Both adults and children were considered for this separate ranking. A rank of No. 1 corresponds with the highest obesity rate.

Source: WalletHub

Ask the Experts
Our collective medical tab of nearly $200 billion is just one of the consequences of a perpetually unhealthy lifestyle that leads to obesity. To shed more light on the issue and find solutions that consumers and local governments can follow, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

What are some tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank?
What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight?
What policies should government pursue to combat obesity and rein in the cost of health care?
What is the impact of obesity on the economy and worker productivity?
Should overweight people pay a higher premium for their health insurance? Do you think they will in the future, based on recent health care proposals?

AgriLife researchers receive $4.4 million USDA grant

AgriLife Logo

TAMU research strives to improve food industry – @bowerman_rachel
TAMU AgriLife received funds for agricultural research involving the melon industry.

In the U.S. melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew have been associated with the outbreak of 36 foodborne diseases and pathogen related fruit recalls since 1990 according to Texas A&M horticulturalist Bhimu Patil.

On Sept. 8, scientists with the A&M AgriLife Research department received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to research and improve the U.S. melon industry.

The department received $35 million have been awarded nationally by the USDA to 12 projects across the country seeking to address the concerns of melon safety. The grant was awarded to the university’s horticultural sciences department as a part of a four year funded project, entitled “A Sustainable, Systems-based Approach for a Safer and Healthier Melon Supply Chain in the U.S..”

Bhimu Patil, a horticultural sciences professor and director of the AgriLife Research department’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (VFIC), will head the project of collaborators from universities across the nation.

“VFIC has been successful in teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences,” Patil said. “A&M’s VFIC scientists will lead the nation partnering with melon growing states in the country.”

The money was awarded to the university after the USDA-NIFA recognized the VFIC as a Center For Excellence in the field of U.S. melon research.

NIFA Centers for Excellence are recognized by their success in developing beneficial public-private partnerships and efforts in the fields of research and education, according to the Department of Agriculture website.

In an email NIFA spokesperson Sonny Ramaswamy laid out the goals of his organization.

“NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors,” Ramaswamy wrote. “They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe, and affordable food sources.”

Ramaswamy feels that Texas A&M University researchers play a role in pursuing NIFA’s goals.

“These projects include a Texas A&M University effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the United States, emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven need,” Ramaswamy wrote.

Patil said that, due to their physical characteristics, melons are particularly susceptible to the spread of disease.

“The surfaces of these fruits are harder to wash,” Patil said. “And thus pathogens, such as salmonella, can accumulate on the outside and contaminate the flesh when the fruit is cut.”

Patil feels these issues need to be addressed because, despite the risk of disease, melons are incredibly beneficial and durable fruits.

“Melons have a multitude of health benefits and excellent flavor aspects for consumers, and as well as a good resistance to disease while growing in fields,” Patil said.

Patil also said the goals of the project will affect many areas of agricultural industry.

“The long term goal of this multidisciplinary project is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs,” Patil said.

According to Patil, the project will involve around twelve scientists from the VFIC who will partner with melon growers across the nation to improve melon safety and assist U.S. melon farmers to make the business more lucrative.

“We are developing varieties based on consumer needs,” Patil said. “We have more than 23 scientists in seven states collaborating to make this happen.”

Improving U.S. melon crop focus of $4.4 million study

AgriLife Logo

Texas A&M Today News

Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

COLLEGE STATION — More than $4.4 million is being funded to discover ways to improve the U.S. melon industry through a grant to scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and in seven other states.
The monies, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, were part of $35 million given to 12 projects to find “science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry.”
The four-year project, “A Sustainable, Systems-based Approach for a Safer and Healthier Melon Supply Chain in the U.S.,” will be led by Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of AgriLife Research’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in College Station. It is believed to be the largest grant ever awarded within the Texas A&M University horticultural sciences department, where Patil is also a professor.
In announcing the funding, USDA-NIFA director, Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, said, “NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors. They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe, and affordable food sources.”
He said that is why the AgriLife Research effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs, was awarded.
Patil said that since 1990, cantaloupes have been associated with 36 U.S. foodborne disease outbreaks and pathogen-based recalls predominantly linked to salmonella.
The research will focus on cantaloupe and honeydew, Patil said, because the surface area of these fruits are such that they are harder to wash and thus pathogens can accumulate on the outside and contaminate the flesh when cut.
But cantaloupes also have a lot of healthy aspects for consumers and a lot of resistance to disease while growing in fields, he said.
“We are interested in developing varieties based on consumer needs,” he said. “And we have more than 20 scientists in seven states collaborating to make this happen.”
Patil and the team will conduct consumer evaluations and conduct sensory panels to consider what is desired in the fruit. They also will work with growers and grocery store chains to initiate and continue dialogue about what is desired in developing new, healthier varieties.
“The long-term goal of this multidisciplinary project is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs,” Patil added. “It will be advantageous for both groups.”

Improving U.S. melon crop focus of $4.4 million study

AgriLife Logo

Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Updated 8:04 am, Wednesday, September 6, 2017

COLLEGE STATION — More than $4.4 million is being funded to discover ways to improve the U.S. melon industry through a grant to scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and in seven other states.
The monies, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, were part of $35 million given to 12 projects to find “science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry.”
The four-year project, “A Sustainable, Systems-based Approach for a Safer and Healthier Melon Supply Chain in the U.S.,” will be led by Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of AgriLife Research’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in College Station. It is believed to be the largest grant ever awarded within the Texas A&M University horticultural sciences department, where Patil is also a professor.
In announcing the funding, USDA-NIFA director, Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, said, “NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors. They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe, and affordable food sources.”
He said that is why the AgriLife Research effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs, was awarded.
Patil said that since 1990, cantaloupes have been associated with 36 U.S. foodborne disease outbreaks and pathogen-based recalls predominantly linked to salmonella.
The research will focus on cantaloupe and honeydew, Patil said, because the surface area of these fruits are such that they are harder to wash and thus pathogens can accumulate on the outside and contaminate the flesh when cut.
But cantaloupes also have a lot of healthy aspects for consumers and a lot of resistance to disease while growing in fields, he said.
“We are interested in developing varieties based on consumer needs,” he said. “And we have more than 20 scientists in seven states collaborating to make this happen.”
Patil and the team will conduct consumer evaluations and conduct sensory panels to consider what is desired in the fruit. They also will work with growers and grocery store chains to initiate and continue dialogue about what is desired in developing new, healthier varieties.
“The long-term goal of this multidisciplinary project is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs,” Patil added. “It will be advantageous for both groups.”

Improving US melon crop focus of $4.4 million study at Texas A&M AgriLife Research

AgriLife Logo

COLLEGE STATION — More than $4.4 million is being funded to discover ways to improve the U.S. melon industry through a grant to scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and in seven other states.

Cantaloupe in a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study near Amarillo.

The monies, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, were part of $35 million given to 12 projects to find “science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry.”

The four-year project, “A Sustainable, Systems-based Approach for a Safer and Healthier Melon Supply Chain in the U.S.,” will be led by Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of AgriLife Research’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in College Station. It is believed to be the largest grant ever awarded within the Texas A&M University horticultural sciences department, where Patil is also a professor.

In announcing the funding, USDA-NIFA director, Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, said, “NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors. They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe, and affordable food sources.”

He said that is why the AgriLife Research effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs, was awarded.

Patil said that since 1990, cantaloupes have been associated with 36 U.S. foodborne disease outbreaks and pathogen-based recalls predominantly linked to salmonella.

The research will focus on cantaloupe and honeydew, Patil said, because the surface area of these fruits are such that they are harder to wash and thus pathogens can accumulate on the outside and contaminate the flesh when cut.

But cantaloupes also have a lot of healthy aspects for consumers and a lot of resistance to disease while growing in fields, he said.

“We are interested in developing varieties based on consumer needs,” he said. “And we have more than 20 scientists in seven states collaborating to make this happen.”

Patil and the team will conduct consumer evaluations and conduct sensory panels to consider what is desired in the fruit. They also will work with growers and grocery store chains to initiate and continue dialogue about what is desired in developing new, healthier varieties.

“The long-term goal of this multidisciplinary project is to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the U.S., emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs,” Patil added. “It will be advantageous for both groups.”

###

NIFA Invests $35 Million in Specialty Crop Research

AgriLife Logo

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture sent this bulletin at 08/24/2017 01:14 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 24, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 12 new grants totaling $35 million for science-based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry. Funding is made through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Specialty crops generally fetch high value for the farmers, but require more intensive farming than conventional crops, such as wheat or corn,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments in specialty crop research provide high-tech solutions to the needs of farmers and processors. They foster a competitive U.S. industry that offers abundant, nutritious, safe and affordable food sources.”

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. The Specialty Crop Research Initiative seeks to invest in long-term solutions that address problems in the overlapping systems of production, distribution and processing, and consumers and markets. This research initiative encourages collaboration, open communication, the exchange of information, and the development of resources that accelerate application of scientific discovery and technology to help U.S. producers be more competitive in a global market.

The new recipients of fiscal year 2017 grants are:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, $2,447,432
University of California, Santa Cruz, California, $2,513,040
University of California, Davis, California, $4,494,490
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, $2,538,539
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, $45,470
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, $3,208,657
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, $5,485,292
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $6,550,976
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $4,409,547
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $3,279,861
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $46,550
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, $46,550
These projects include a Texas A&M University effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of melon production in the United States, emphasizing consumer preferences and industry-driven needs. The University of Arkansas is leading a multi-state and multi-agency collaboration to meet growing consumer demand for spinach by developing new, disease-resistant cultivars and conducting outreach to industry stakeholders.

NIFA has invested more than $400 million through the SCRI program to date. Among past projects, a University of Maryland project developed a wireless irrigation system to save water, increase efficiency, and reduce the environmental impacts of ornamental plant production practices. Michigan State University led a multi-year, public-private collaboration to develop region- and crop-specific pollination management approaches using both wild and managed native bees. The Integrated Crop Pollination project has resulted in resources for growers, research publications, and has helped growers increase yield with lower production costs.

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension that solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural sciences, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/Impacts, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

###

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer.

Science Of Stink: Blame Sulfur Compounds For Your Garlic Breath

AgriLife Logo

Maanvi Singh June 21, 201410:48 AM ET

Garlic is delicious. But if you consume enough of it, its stench can repel not only vampires but any person within a 5-foot radius.

What’s behind garlic breath that makes it so offensive? In a video, the folks at the American Chemical Society and the chemistry blog Compound Interest lay out the chemicals responsible for the odor.

Chopping or crushing garlic releases the compound allicin, which then breaks down into four other smelly compounds. The most mischievous of them is allyl methyl sulfide, which can linger in your body for a long time. It not only causes your breath to go rank, but as it seeps into your bloodstream, it also gets into your sweat and pee.

It can be incredibly difficult to get rid of the stench once you’ve ingested this chemical. “Humans and animals are exquisitely sensitive to the most tiny amounts of sulfur compounds,” says Eric Block, a professor of chemistry at the State University of New York in Albany, and the author of Garlic and Other Alliums.

It makes our mouth water, but it makes our breath stink.
Flickr
Once you metabolize these compounds, the smell goes away, Block tells The Salt. But that can take a while — up to two days, though it varies in each person.

Some people can break it down quickly, but “I’m not one of those,” he says. “I’m a garlic lover, and my wife — who has an excellent sense of smell — says even 48 hours after eating a garlic meal, she can smell it on my skin.”

Some research suggests that the fat in milk may help us break down the allyl methyl sulfide more quickly. The ACS video also suggests parsley.

But these sorts of remedies may be iffy, Block says; instead he recommends masking garlic with other strong smells.

Citrus can help, says Bhimu Patil, a horticulturist at Texas A&M University, but that’s based on anecdotal evidence.

Garlic — especially when it’s eaten raw — is good for you, Patil says. “Maybe eat it at night,” he says. “That way you can also lead a social life.”

But if you’re gorging on garlic because you think it’ll quash your cold or reduce your risk of getting cancer, don’t get your hopes up too much.

Some preliminary studies show that garlic’s antimicrobial properties may benefit our health, Patil says. And epidemiological studies that look at countries where people consume a lot of garlic suggest that it may reduce the risk of developing cancer.

But, he says, “We need to do more analysis. We need to really understand the role of these compounds in garlic — both good and bad.”

And since garlic is so pungent, most of us probably don’t eat enough to actually reap any major health benefits, Block says.

It does stop the spread of disease in at least one way, though, Block says. “As I once heard a comedian say, by eating garlic you’ll have such bad breath that no one wants to come near you.”