College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

New software from CAES improves accuracy of DNA sequence analysis

Posted on
Monday, March 7, 2022

Researchers from the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety have developed software that functions as an important step in improving the accuracy of DNA sequence analysis when testing for microbial contamination.

Sepia is a cutting-edge read classifier, written by College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Henk den Bakker, that is out now as open-source software. And it should make genome sequencing much faster for researchers studying bacteria.

The length of chromosomes of bacteria typically range between 1.5 million base pairs to roughly 9.5 million base pairs, but if researchers want to “read” the individual bases of a genome (the genome sequencing process), they can only do that in pieces of 150 to 10,000 base pairs using modern technology. These pieces are called “reads.”

Industry partnerships yield new turf facilities on UGA Griffin campus

Posted on
Friday, February 18, 2022

Any time you walk through a park, play a recreation-league soccer game or enjoy an afternoon on the golf course, you are using the products of the multibillion-dollar turfgrass industry. In Georgia alone, turfgrass covers 1.8 million acres, making it one of the largest agricultural commodities in the state, employing more than 100,000 people with a maintenance value of $1.56 billion.  

Despite its economic importance, turfgrass researchers often face a lack of research infrastructure and facilities to conduct Extension and educational activities. That is no longer the case at the University of Georgia Griffin campus, where industry-funded partnerships have led to the installation of a research golf green and a research and Extension soccer field.

Nanobubble technology may improve soil health, sustainability in the turfgrass industry

Posted on
Friday, January 14, 2022

While the old song “Tiny Bubbles” lauds the happy effervescence of a glass of sparkling wine, new University of Georgia research on nanobubbles seeks to discover whether the tiniest of bubbles can hold beneficial properties for turfgrass.

Led by soil microbiologist Mussie Habteselassie, the Georgia Department of Agriculture-sponsored study will evaluate the potential applications of nanobubble technology to control pathogens and improve plant growth, water use efficiency and soil biological health in turfgrass systems. Other researchers on the project include turfgrass and forage pathologist Bochra Bahri and crop and soil scientist David Jespersen, all with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Using technology that generates oxygenated nanobubbles — which are roughly 2500 times smaller than a grain of salt — researchers will apply nano-charged water to turfgrass root systems through irrigation.

UGA faculty elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Posted on
Friday, December 17, 2021

University of Georgia professors Scott NeSmithAnumantha Kanthasamy and S. Edward Law have been elected Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. Including these three new Fellows, 12 UGA faculty have received this honor, all of them since 2013.

NAI Fellows must be involved in creating or facilitating inventions that make a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and welfare of society. Becoming an NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to academic inventors. According to the organization, $3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries. NAI Fellows’ research and entrepreneurship have resulted in more than 42,700 issued U.S. patents, 13,000 licensed technologies and 3,200 new companies — not to mention more than 1 million jobs created, according to NAI.

“As a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) director and Fellow, I am thrilled to welcome our newly elected Fellows to the NAI,” said Karen Burg, UGA vice president of research.

Adams named 2021 Marie Fort Garden Club Scholarship recipient

Posted on
Friday, November 5, 2021

Congratulations are in order for UGA Griffin student, Darian Adams, for being named the recipient of the Marie Fort Garden Club Scholarship for 2021. The local club presents the $1,000 scholarship annually to a UGA Griffin undergraduate student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Adams was awarded the scholarship in October at a club meeting.

 

“Thank you so much,” said Adams to the club. “This scholarship will help me reach my career goals by helping fund my tuition and books. Getting a degree is my top priority and this scholarship will help tremendously.”

 

UGA Griffin students take part in annual Stream Cleanup

Posted on
Friday, November 5, 2021

Getting up early on a Saturday morning to do physical labor is not necessarily every person’s idea of fun, especially when your bed is beckoning you to roll over for just five more minutes. However, that is exactly what a group of UGA Griffin students, along with faculty and staff, did on October 16 as they took part in the annual City of Griffin’s Stream Cleanup.

The Annual Stream Cleanup is a long-standing event that brings together citizens of Griffin-Spalding County to cleanup area streams and waterways. Volunteers remove trash and debris from their assigned stream in efforts to make their county a better and cleaner place.

“I think we were one of the largest groups who signed up to volunteer,” said Melissa Slaughter, a Center for Food Safety employee on the UGA Griffin campus. “I got involved because I used to help out when I was with 4-H and wanted to get the Griffin campus involved. It is a great way to give back to the community.”

UGA-Griffin student scores job testing turf at PGA Tour Championship

Posted on
Friday, October 8, 2021

When professional golfer Patrick Cantlay sank the birdie that won him the 2021 PGA TOUR Championship, he did it on turf that had been tested that morning by a student from the University of Georgia’s Griffin campus.

Ethan Barr, a junior and environmental resource science major at UGA-Griffin, scored a job assisting the PGA Tour with its culminating event of the season during the first weekend in September at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Barr's task was simple, but it had a significant impact on the tournament's outcome and reinforced his chosen field of study.

“We would go up early in the mornings to test how firm the greens are with a tool called TruFirm. It has a sensor on the end that you drop on the green and it tests how firm the greens are. You give those results to the person in charge of the golf course, and they make changes in the afternoon to make it firmer or less firm,” Barr said. “The head guy at the golf course said they want to make the greens challenging, but fair and consistent with regard to speed and firmness. We helped with that.”

All the buzz on the third annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census

Posted on
Monday, August 30, 2021

Thousands of Georgians came together on August 20 and 21 to count pollinator insects in their local gardens for the third annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census

Coordinated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, the Great Georgia Pollinator Census (GGPC) is designed to track the overall health of Georgia’s pollinators. Georgia citizens of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the count each year, and the census has attracted participation from businesses, school groups and garden groups, as well as families and individuals around the state.  

UGA food scientists get creative with Georgia commodities

Posted on
Friday, August 20, 2021

As farmers across the state swelter in the summer heat tending crops and livestock, food scientists inside a state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot facility on the University of Georgia campus in Griffin are laboring over a different side of the agricultural equation: How can we get the biggest bang for the buck from Georgia’s food commodities?

UGA’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center is a one-stop shop for food businesses looking to launch a product. FoodPIC, as it’s known, provides support for product feasibility, development, packaging, food safety, consumer acceptance (for example, crickets, even in powdered form, are a tricky food sell) and marketing. The center, part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, primarily works with Georgia companies and commodities, although it also conducts research and development for entities in other states as well as overseas.

A glance inside a display case near the entrance bears evidence of FoodPIC’s involvement in bringing locally made products to the marketplace: a tub of Proper Pepper pimento cheese, a jar of Classic City Bee Company smoked honey, a bottle of Pecan Ridge Plantation pecan truffle oil, a package of Charleston & Church cheddar rounds.

From food desert to community oasis

Posted on
Thursday, August 12, 2021

Labeled a food desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Fairmont community in Griffin, Georgia, has historically had slim options for sourcing fresh, nutritious food nearby. But this desert is becoming an oasis of fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to a group of dedicated agencies and volunteers who have worked hard for nearly 10 years to create a thriving community garden.

The Healthy Life Community Garden — which was established in 2012 — began as a partnership between the city of Griffin, the Fairmont Community, Griffin Housing Authority, the local chapter of the NAACP, Spalding County, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in Spalding County, and UGA’s Center for Urban Agriculture (CUA). Funding for the project comes from a yearly grant from the Griffin Housing Authority and covers the cost of supplies for operating the garden and a garden manager.