The University of Arizona

CALS NewsLine from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

CALS NewsLine for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

CALS NewsLine is dedicated to helping you learn more about our programs and activities. Subscription information is at the end of this newsletter.

IN THIS NEWSLINE ISSUED September 30, 2009 :

  1. UA TEAM EVALUATING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ROADWAYS, RESTORATION
  2. NORTON SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE OCT. 2 FEATURES LECTURE, DEMOS AND TOURS
  3. CALS PUBLICATIONS: SEPTEMBER
  4. UA AWARDED $4.35M TO STUDY EARTH'S CRITICAL ZONE
  5. RESEARCH INSIGHTS IN SEMIARID ECOSYSTEMS (RISE) OCTOBER 3
  6. UA RODEO CLUB 70 YEARS STRONG
  7. CALS IN THE JOURNALS
  8. RESEARCH FRONTIERS IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES CONFERENCE OCT. 8-9
  9. USING WATER MORE EFFICIENTLY
  10. CALS IN THE NEWS: SEPTEMBER

1 UA TEAM EVALUATING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ROADWAYS, RESTORATION

Land managers throughout the United States are attempting to restore watersheds and ecosystems by rolling back a familiar industrial staple: roadways.

In fact, watershed restoration has, in recent years, billowed into a billion dollar industry, particularly in the nation's western region--and it shows no sign of a slowdown.

But so little is known about what happens to natural habitats as a result of removing roads or whether such efforts are most appropriate for long-term rehabbing.

A team of University of Arizona researchers has set out to find out.

Kathleen A. Lohse, an assistant professor in the UA's School of Natural Resources and the Environment, has just received a $35,000 grant for a one-year pilot study intended to clue researchers, governments, environmentalists, conservationists and others in on some of the fundamental affects such restoration efforts.

"We're starting from scratch in terms of understanding how different restoration efforts affect the structure and function of these hillslopes," said Lohse, an ecosystem scientist and principal investigator on the grant.

Jean E.T. McLain, a UA adjunct assistant research scientist, and associate professor for geosciences Jon D. Pelletier are serving as co-principal investigators. Also, Rebecca Lloyd, a graduate student studying ecohydrology who works in Lohse's laboratory, also will work on the project. Lloyd previously spent 10 years developing and working on the restoration project in Idaho where this research is focused.

"We're asking whether or not we're being successful in actively restoring desired ecological functions and services across this landscape," Lohse said.

Millions are invested in road removal programs across public lands each year but there are no thorough research studies about whether different prescriptions for "closing" a road have equivalent restoration benefits," she added.

Read more from the September 1 issue of UANews at the link below.
Kathleen Lohse, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, klohse@email.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/26899

2 NORTON SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE OCT. 2 FEATURES LECTURE, DEMOS AND TOURS

"Deadbeat dad," "father knows best," "like father like son"--our culture has spun a host of colorful concepts around the father-child relationship, but do they hold up beyond our species?

University of Arizona researchers, along with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, will explore that question during an Oct. 2 event while sharing findings from 15 years of field observations. The event begins at 2 p.m. at McClelland Park.

The event is a special installment of the Frances McClelland Institute's Turbeville Speaker Series and will include a banana split social--a nod, said event organizers, to the apes at the heart of the presentation--research demonstrations in the Norton School's state-of-the-art laboratory and a tour of McClelland Park, one of the newest and most striking buildings on the UA campus.

For more details, read the September 28 UANews article at the link below.
Kimberley Brooke, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, kbrooke@u.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/27645


3 CALS PUBLICATIONS: SEPTEMBER

HOW TO BUG PROOF YOUR HOME

An enormous amount of effort and money can be saved by pest-proofing a home or building. Pest-proofing has many advantages: it is safe and sustainable, and it is VERY effective at reducing the number of pests in your home.

Arizona Cooperative Extension's revised "How to Bug Proof Your Home" offers a comprehensive overview of general measures for keeping out uninvited guests both inside and outside the home. The guide also includes a detailed look at more individual pests in the following categories: general pests, structural pests, health risk pests, stored product pests in Arizona, and fabric pests in Arizona.

The 32-page, full color guide is available at http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/az1320.pdf
Dawn Gouge, Department of Entomology, dhgouge@ag.arizona.edu;
Carl Olson, Department of Entomology, bugman@ag.arizona.edu

CALCIUM AND CALORIE CONTENT OF SELECTED FOODS

Healthy bone growth and maintenance requires adequate calcium intake. You can meet your calcium needs from foods, beverages, and, if necessary, supplements.

Adequate intake for calcium, according to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), is 500 milligrams (mg) per day for children 1-3 years old, 800 mg per day for children 4-8 years old, adolescents and teenagers 9-18 years old need 1300 mg per day, and adults 19 and older need at least 1000-1200 mg per day.

Arizona Cooperative Extension's recently released bulletin "Calcium and Calorie Content of Selected Foods" can help you select the right foods to meet these requirements. The publication includes a list of the calcium content of common foods, portion sizes, instructions on how to read food labels, tips for increasing calcium in the diet without taking in too many calories, and more.

The 5-page guide is available at http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/health/az1128.pdf
Vanessa A. Farrell, Department of Nutritional Sciences, stanford@u.arizona.edu;
Linda Houtkooper, Arizona Cooperative Extension Administration, houtkoop@u.arizona.edu


4 UA AWARDED $4.35M TO STUDY EARTH'S CRITICAL ZONE

The zone from the treetops to the bottom of the groundwater table has been dubbed the "Critical Zone" because of its key role in processing and cycling water, carbon and nutrients necessary for life.

Now an interdisciplinary team of researchers will establish a "Critical Zone Observatory" in the Southwest with the help of a five-year, $4.35 million grant to The University of Arizona from the National Science Foundation.

"We think of the critical zone as being a living filter for the hydrological cycle," said principal investigator Jon Chorover, a UA professor of soil, water and environmental science.

"We know a lot about geology and rocks, and we know a lot about communities of plants that exist in different climatic zones, and we know a lot about fertility of soil. However, we don't understand how the components all interact to create this filter at the surface of the earth that helps to clean and store our water," Chorover said.

To figure out how the ecological, geological and hydrological components of the critical zone interact, he and his colleagues will study two different mountain-and-basin areas in the desert Southwest--the Santa Catalina Mountains outside Tucson, Ariz., and the Valles Caldera National Preserve near Los Alamos, N.M.

"In the arid Southwest, a lot of the water we all depend on is derived from relatively local high-rainfall environments," he said. "Mountains in the Southwest are areas that suck water out of the sky and bring it down into our basin aquifers."

The UA-led effort is called the Jemez River Basin-Santa Catalina Mountains Critical Zone Observatory. The Valles Caldera drains into the Jemez River basin. The NSF has funded four such CZOs in different climatic zones throughout the U.S.

Read more from the September 23 issue of UANews at the link below.
Jon Chorover, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, chorover@cals.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/27571


5 RESEARCH INSIGHTS IN SEMIARID ECOSYSTEMS (RISE) OCTOBER 3

The sixth annual Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems (RISE) Symposium will take place October 3 from 8:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Arizona Marley Auditorium Room 230, in Tucson. The objectives of the symposium are to share recent results of scientific research at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), to encourage future research activities at the WGEW and the SRER, and to promote the WGEW and the SRER as outdoor scientific laboratories.

The Symposium will feature invited speakers presenting either recent research on the WGEW or SRER or new reflections on earlier work conducted at either site. There will be time for questions from the audience, which will be made up of federal agency and university researchers, students, and stakeholders from southern Arizona.

Registration for the symposium is $10 for students and $25 for all others. A lunch will be provided during the symposium for all registered participants. The deadline for registration (as a courtesy for catering plans) is 18 September 2009. Late registrations will be accepted at the Symposium site from 8:30 to 9:00 AM.

There will also be poster sessions where students and researchers are encouraged to report on completed or in-progress studies.

Mitch McClaran, Santa Rita Experimental Range, mcclaran@email.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/index.htm


6 UA RODEO CLUB 70 YEARS STRONG

Jacob Mayfield comes from a lineage of rodeo competitors--his father, grandfather and uncle were all involved, with his uncle having completed professionally in calf roping. Mayfield, who said he's been in the sport "all of my life," had aspirations for competing nationally with an intercollegiate team, which meant that he would have to attend a college or university that had a competitive rodeo club.

Formerly a Mesa Community College student, Mayfield transferred to the University of Arizona, home of the world's oldest intercollegiate organization.

The UA Rodeo Club is now in its 70th year, and is currently celebrating another milestone: the completion of its new practice arena and facility to house and care for animals.

"We are really focusing on getting those kids coming out of community college who are looking to get a four-year degree and also rodeo, too," said Mayfield, a UA senior studying agribusiness economics and management who is also president of the 20-member club.

"The UA is a good option; they don't have to go all the way to New Mexico, Nevada or to Texas," he added. In fact, local cowboys Joe and Clay Parsons--whose family name is strongly associated with the rodeo--are UA Rodeo Club alumni.

Read more from the September 29 UANews article at the link below. See the video featuring rodeo club members at http://uanews.org/node/27588
John Marchello, Department of Animal Sciences, jam@ag.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/27647


7 CALS IN THE JOURNALS

EDIBLE APPLE FILM WRAPS MAY PROTECT MEAT AND POULTRY PRODUCTS AGAINST FOODBORNE PATHOGENS

Foodborne pathogens like Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes are serious safety issues for food processors and consumers alike. However, meat and poultry products may be rendered safer with the use of edible apple film wraps, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

Researchers from the University of Arizona investigated the use of carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde in apple-based films. Carvacrol is the main ingredient of oregano oil, and cinnemaldehyde is the main ingredient of cinnamon oil. The researchers looked at how the antimicrobials in these films would protect against S. enterica and E. coli O157:H7 on chicken breast and L. monocytogenes on ham at two different temperatures.

"Our findings provide a scientific rationale for large-scale application of apple-based antimicrobial films to improve microbial food safety," says lead researcher Sadhana Ravishankar. "The use of edible antimicrobial films offers several consumer advantages, including prevention of moisture loss, control of dripping juices--which reduces cross contamination--reduction of rancidity and discoloration, and prevention of foreign odor pick-up."

Read more from the September 23 press release from the Institute of Food Technologists at the link below.
Sadhana Ravishankar, Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, sadhravi@email.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1002134


8 RESEARCH FRONTIERS IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES CONFERENCE OCT. 8-9

Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are primary causes of illness and cost billions of dollars each year. Overweight and obesity place individuals at risk for these diseases, yet new research suggests that bioactive components of foods can help reduce this risk and aid in disease treatments.

The 2009 Research Frontiers in Nutritional Sciences Conference will feature new information on the rapidly developing field of bioactive food compounds.

Experts also will share the latest information on prevention and therapies for cancer, obesity and diabetes. The conference will be held Oct. 8-9 at the University of Arizona in the Student Union Grand Ballroom.

The conference will draw on scientists, health care providers, business professionals and other interested individuals to develop solutions and discuss research.

Presenters include researchers from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Research Council Canada, the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, the Arizona Cancer Center and nine universities.

"As we move towards personalized medicine, we need to understand how particular foods and supplements in our diet benefit medical and nutritional treatments," said Joy Winzerling, head of the department of nutritional sciences in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "This conference provides this opportunity, bringing together people working on research in human nutrition, medicine, and agriculture," Winzerling said.

The term "bioactive food component" refers to nonessential biomolecules that are present in foods and exhibit the capacity to modulate one or more metabolic processes, and promote better health.

Read more, including registration information, from the September 11 issue of UANews at the link below.
Joy Winzerling, Department of Nutritional Sciences, jwinzerl@ag.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/27355


9 USING WATER MORE EFFICIENTLY

A parched compound within earshot of the whoosh of I-10 traffic in Marana, about 20 miles northwest of the University of Arizona campus, seemed an unlikely place for fish. But there were tilapia, darting to the surface and then back into the murky depths of a tank of brine. Hedgerows of saltbush fit more naturally into the desert setting. A putting-green-sized carpet of salt-tolerant turf grass lay at the end of a row of saltbush.

Through a chain-link fence was another part of the puzzle: a trailer containing water desalination equipment and a shed housing an even more sophisticated water-treatment unit.

Here also was where a finger of the Central Arizona Project canal diverted for irrigation some of its Colorado River water bound for Tucson. It was an ideal setting for a pair of complimentary research projects involving water sustainability.

Salt concentrates in the CAP water as it evaporates while flowing through the canal. One of the challenges in managing the water supply is determining the optimal way to extract salts from the CAP water, which, together with groundwater, provides about half of Tucson's water.

Desalination processes like reverse osmosis, in which water is forced at pressure through membranes, is one way to go, but 20 percent of the water is lost as concentrated brine.

A secondary treatment called Vibratory Shear Enhanced Processing, or VSEP, concentrates the brine in about four percent of the water. But the tradeoff for having more water to drink is that both processes are energy intensive--costly--and produce brine that must be disposed of somehow.

"The chemical engineering approach is to squeeze as much water out and then find the minimum amount of brine to discharge," said Martin Yoklic, associate research scientist at the UA's Environmental Research Laboratory. "Our approach is to find ways to use the brine, but if it gets too salty, the use is limited."

Yoklic and his research partner, Fiona L. Jordan, assistant research scientist, began to experiment with ways to put the brine to use--irrigating salt-tolerant plants, or halophytes--that can be used as forage additive for animals, and raising tilapia.

Read more from the August 26 UANews article at the link below. See the video at uanews.org./node/27076
Martin Yoklic, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, myoklic@ag.arizona.edu
To learn more: http://uanews.org/node/27041


10 CALS IN THE NEWS: SEPTEMBER

COVER CROPS OFFER VEGETABLE IMPROVEMENTS

California and Arizona desert vegetable growers can achieve increased yields, pest suppression, and reduced soil erosion and nutrient leaching by growing summer cover crops prior to planting winter crops.

Cover crops suppress pests and fix the nitrogen in legumes which enhances plant development especially in organic crop production where synthetic pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers are not permitted. Cover crops can offer similar benefits in conventionally-grown winter vegetables.

Close management is required to increase plant growth and yield since cover crops can change the nitrogen (N) availability in the soil. If a cover crop produces large amounts of biomass with a high-carbon nitrogen (C:N) ratio, the microbes consuming the cover crop residue can immobilize the soil nitrogen. In this case, extra N should be applied to the cash crop.

A soon-to-be-released Cooperative Extension paper summarizing summer cover crop use in low-desert vegetable production is authored by Guangyao (Sam) Wang, cropping systems specialist, UA Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, Ariz.; and Kurt Nolte, area Extension agent and county director, UA Cooperative Extension, Yuma County.

Read the rest of this article from the September 19 issue of Western Farm Press at http://westernfarmpress.com/vegetables/cover-crops-0921/index.html.
Guangyao (Sam) Wang, Maricopa Agricultural Center, samwang@ag.arizona.edu;
Kurt Nolte, Yuma County Cooperative Extension, knolte@ag.arizona.edu

UA STARTS RECLAMATION STUDY AT ROSEMONT MINE

University of Arizona researchers have begun work on a test at the Rosemont Copper Mine site to evaluate reclamation techniques that would allow disturbed lands to be turned into thriving ecosystems.

The seven-year $377,000 study is being funded through a grant from Rosemont Copper, which has proposed opening a mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, about 30 miles southeast of Tucson. The test plots are located on land that is privately owned by Rosemont Copper.

A team headed by Jeffrey Fehmi, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, have evaluated 29 different native species from the Rosemont site and compiled them into four seed mixes. The seed mixes were tested in UA greenhouses using three types of soil from the proposed mine site, with different soil amendments and fertilizer combinations, and watered to simulate low, average and high rainfall years. The field testing is being done to verify the greenhouse results under real-world conditions.

Read more from the September 14 issue of AzBiz.com at http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2009/09/14/news/doc4aaa8a13a28d8015021067.txt
Jeffrey Fehmi, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, jfehmi@email.arizona.edu

UA TO JOIN WITH IRAQI UNIVERSITY ON REBUILDING AGRICULTURE

The University of Arizona and a university in northern Iraq are partnering to help rebuild Iraq's agricultural industry.

The UA and Kirkuk University plan to sign an agreement by next month. The partnership would allow the UA to help professors in Kirkuk with curriculum planning in core agricultural subjects, such as soil science, and also help recruit students to attend the Kirkuk program.

The project is still in early discussions, but it has been in the works since January, said Joseph Hiller, a hydrologist and assistant dean at the UA's College of Agriculture.

Hiller was asked to work on the partnership by officers from the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team, he said.

Recently retired from the Army Reserves, Hiller has worked in both Iraq and Afghanistan since he was first mobilized after Sept. 11, 2001. He worked on counterinsurgency strategies that involved agriculture and he worked with tribes, he said.

The reconstruction team is financially backing the college project and other projects, including health programs, court systems, small-business loans and waste management. Subject-matter experts on the team are civilians, and sometimes calls for agriculture expertise come to the UA.

Rebuilding agriculture, both subsistence farming and commercial operations, is important to Iraq's peaceful future, Hiller said.

"Young guys without jobs tend to pick up guns," he said, "and we'd like to get them back on the farm."

Read more from this September 13 Arizona Daily Star article at http://www.azstarnet.com/news/308835.php
Joseph Hiller, Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station, jghiller@cals.arizona.edu

WATERMELON GROWER COPES WITH OLD AND NEW CHALLENGES

Jack Dixon has been growing watermelons most of his life in the southern Arizona desert. About 20 years ago, he purchased a farm in Picacho, Ariz., and established Red Hawk Farming, where he's grown watermelons, cotton and wheat, typical crops for the arid desert land just north of Tucson. Rising production costs and increased competition from imported produce are forcing Dixon to place greater emphasis on efficient management.

About 4.3 billion pounds of watermelons were produced in the United States in 2008. Arizona is among the top five watermelon-producing states, which include Georgia, Florida, Texas and California. The five states produce about 75 percent of the total production in the United States, worth about $492 million.

Read more from this article in the September 2009 issue of Growing magazine at http://www.growingmagazine.com/article.php?id=4009. CALS scientists John Palumbo and Jeff Silvertooth are quoted.

John Palumbo, Yuma Agricultural Center, jpalumbo@ag.arizona.edu and Jeff Silvertooth, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, silver@ag.arizona.edu


To find out about available CALS publications and upcoming events, go to http://cals.arizona.edu/. If you have questions or comments about NewsLine, send an email to newseditor@ag.arizona.edu. Previous issues can be viewed at http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/newsline/previous-issues.html

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