Griffin Campus

Braman, Hodgson named 2021 Classified Employees of the Year

Posted on
Thursday, April 15, 2021

The University of Georgia Griffin campus recently named Richie Braman and Ryan Hodgson as the 2021 Classified Employees of the year. The designation was made at the 32nd Annual Employee Recognition Ceremony held on Wednesday, April 7.

Eleven employees were nominated for the Classified Employee of the Year Award- Richie Braman (Center for Urban Agriculture), Avery Bray (Academic Programs), Brett Byous (Entomology), Kenneth Corley (Facilities Management Division), Meghan den Bakker (Center for Food Safety), Lauren Hatcher (FoodPIC), Ryan Hodgson (Field Research Services), Angie Lewis (Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit), Ben Lopez (Crop and Soil Sciences), Sarah Sawyer (Horticulture), and Brian Vermeer (Plant Pathology).

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Insecticide residue in the soil harms wild bees

Posted on
Monday, April 12, 2021

New research funded by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and conducted at the University of Georgia shows that imidacloprid residue harms wild bees.

In a first-of-its-kind study, Christine Fortuin, now a postdoctorate researcher at UGA, developed a more accurate understanding of the lethal and sublethal effects of neonicotinoid exposure on blue orchard mason bees by studying multiple pathways of imidacloprid exposure.

“Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid, which is a group of pesticides that are highly toxic to bees. It has several common uses but my research was focused on the soil-drench application method. This is when it is applied directly to the soil and soaked up through the roots of the tree to prevent beetles and other pests,” explained Fortuin.

She worked with Kamal Gandhi, a UGA professor of forest entomology, to conduct the research through Southern SARE’s Graduate Student Grant program.

Blue orchard mason bees are one of the few bees native to North America that can be a managed pollinator for orchard crops like apples, cherries and blueberries. Mason bees are members of the Osmia bee family and are considered a wild and solitary species. They have no queens or worker bees and while this dark, metallic blue pollinator may be similar in size to a honey bee, both its lifecycle and interactions with the environment are very different.

Your lawn could help save the bees

Posted on
Monday, April 12, 2021

Over the past few decades, pollinators have been in decline worldwide, which is concerning because 70% of crops used for human food depend on pollinators. Turfgrasses – used for most residential lawns – often take some of the blame for pollinator decline as they are known to be wind-pollinated and were thought not to serve as a pollinator food source, until now.

University of Georgia and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers identified bees that were collecting pollen from the flowers of a turfgrass called centipedegrass. The researchers have been looking for ways to reverse the decline of pollinator populations by examining centipedegrass as a food source for pollinators, with hopes of normalizing low-maintenance, bee-friendly lawns. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Entomological Science and Insects.

The study was led by College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty Shimat Joseph and David Jespersen on the UGA Griffin campus alongside USDA researcher Karen Harris-Shultz in Tifton.

Hur named scholarship recipient

Posted on
Monday, April 5, 2021

Minji Hur has been named the recipient of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Science (CAES) Student Scholarship. 

“This award recognizes students who distinguish themselves through outstanding academic achievement. We are very pleased that a graduate student from the Griffin campus is the recipient of this year’s scholarship, and that this scholarship will help Ms. Hur achieve her academic goals at the University of Georgia,” said David Buntin, Interim Assistant Provost and Griffin Campus Director. 

Hur is a doctoral student in the Center for Food Safety located at UGA Griffin under its Director, Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez. 

“Minji has recently joined our research group as a Ph.D. student and we are very proud that she has received this award. This honor is a deserving recognition of her academic accomplishments,” said Diez-Gonzalez. 

Hur, who is a native of Seoul, South Korea, completed her bachelor’s degree in food science and biotechnology at Gachon University. 

During her senior year, she obtained an internship at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She said this research experience with Dr. Dumitru Macarisin and Dr. Yi Chen inspired her to continue her education. 

When her internship was complete, she enrolled at UGA where she completed her master’s in food science and technology before subsequently moving into the doctoral program in January of this year. 

CFS Annual Meeting continues for 28th year

Posted on
Monday, April 5, 2021

The University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety (CFS) held its Annual Meeting in early March. This invitation-only event provides CFS members and scientists from other organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA, USDA and others to summarize the latest information on food safety research.

 “I am very proud that this is the 28th year in a row that we have been organizing this event as the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia,” CFS Director Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez said in his opening remarks.

Typically held in Atlanta, Georgia, this was the first time in the meeting’s 28 year history that it was held virtually. Though some of the traditional conference format was lost -- such as student poster presentations and networking opportunities -- the overwhelming response from participants was positive and attendance was on track with previous, in-person meetings.

Diez-Gonzalez noted in his introduction that the 2020 Annual Meeting was one of the last times many of the attendees gathered in public. It was held March 3-4 and COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on March 11.

“Many of you were there and remember the unique mood that transpired because of the imminent pandemic,” he said. “For many of us, it was probably the last time that we sat in a room with over 150 people without wearing a mask.”

Grant boosts development of novel food ingredients from jellyfish

Posted on
Monday, February 15, 2021

The University of Georgia Department of Food Science and Technology’s Kevin Mis Solval and his team of researchers have secured a nearly half-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to aid in creating safe food ingredients from cannonball jellyfish.

Harvested on the southeast coast of the U.S., cannonball jellyfish, commonly called jellyballs, have become a prominent catch for fisheries located within the region, and a way for shrimpers to diversify their catch during the off-season for shrimp. But history has shown that there has never been a domestically sustainable market for jellyfish food products.

“Large amounts of jellyfish are harvested on the coast of Georgia,” said Mis Solval, a food process engineer specializing in developing novel food ingredients in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “But what is harvested is sold almost entirely to Asian markets. A big challenge in creating a more domestic industry will be building the demand by creating a product that people can use in their everyday lives.”

Clay models track the activity of beneficial insects in turfgrass

Posted on
Friday, January 8, 2021

Modeling clay isn’t limited to art classrooms and sculpting studios. University of Georgia researchers developed a tool to track beneficial insects in turfgrass systems using clay models. Tracking these good predators can help develop eco-friendly pest management techniques for both home lawns and commercial sod growers.

In a recently published article in Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, UGA scientists determined that beneficial predator insects will interact with and leave distinct markings on clay models that resemble their prey, in this case the larvae of turfgrass pests. This study was led by entomology doctoral candidate Fawad Khan under the guidance of Assistant Professor Shimat Joseph in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the UGA Griffin campus.

“We want to know who the predators are and what kind of impressions these predators will create on these clay models. Before we do anything in the field, we need to have a sense of what that looks like,” said Joseph, a turfgrass entomologist.

Though the clay model approach has been used in other disciplines to observe predator activity, Joseph and Khan found no previous use of the method in turfgrass research. This study developed clay models as a tool to aid in future research.

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Pruning tips for ornamental plants

Posted on
Friday, November 6, 2020

To prune or not to prune, that is the question. Pruning is an important part of maintaining plant health and maximizing plant productivity. This is often a topic that brings fear and confusion, but pruning is, in fact, a beneficial and routine task.

Ornamental plants in the home landscape are pruned for several reasons, including maintaining a desired size or shape; promoting healthy, vigorous growth, flowering or fruiting; and removing sections damaged by insects, disease or weather. Each plant in the landscape has its own growth habit and different requirements for pruning. Some shrubs have dwarf growth habits and may never require pruning, while vigorous, large-growing shrubs may require frequent pruning. Anyone can prune, but not everyone prunes properly.

Improper pruning, or pruning at the wrong time of the year, can result in misshapen plants, reduced flowering or plants that are more likely to be damaged by insects, diseases or winter cold. Because flowering ornamentals form their flower buds at different times of year, pruning times must be adjusted accordingly.

Many spring-flowering plants such as azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron set flower buds in the fall, so pruning during the fall or winter months eliminates or decreases their spring flower display.

Horne, Miller named 2020 Classified Employees of the Year

Posted on
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The University of Georgia Griffin campus recently named Beth Horne and Marie Miller as the 2020 Classified Employees of the year. The designation was made at the 31st Annual Employee Recognition Ceremony held on Tuesday, September 29.

 

Ten employees were nominated for the Classified Employee of the Year Award- Clay Bennett (Crop and Soil Sciences), Brett Byous (Entomology), Faye Chatman (Academic Programs), Jill Cunningham (Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit), Beth Horne (Center for Urban Agriculture), David Mann (Center for Food Safety), Marie Miller (Finance and Administration), Daniel Nordstrom (Field Research Services), Carol Picard (Plant Pathology) and Ilea Rockwell (Facilities Management Division).

 

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UGA’s wheat breeding program releases three new wheat varieties for 2020

Posted on
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Three new wheat varieties released this year by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ wheat breeding program are the product of more than a dozen years of work by breeders on the UGA Griffin campus.

When it comes to cultivating new varieties of wheat, patience is key, as it takes an average of 10 to 14 years to breed a new variety of the grain that has been around as long as mankind. Researchers put in many years of work to see the fruits of their labor, and this year Mohamed Mergoum, the Georgia Seed Development-UGA Foundation Professor in Wheat Breeding and Genetics at the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, and his research team are seeing the results of work begun in 2005 by wheat breeder and Professor Emeritus Jerry Johnson.

The three varieties being released this year — known as '17E8', '17E11' and '17LE16' — are all soft, red winter wheat and will be used to make flour for crackers and cookies. To determine what each wheat variety is best used for, researchers test the flour by making baked goods such as cookies or bread during the breeding process. This also allows for the product to be better marketed to both the farmers who grow the wheat and the milling and baking companies that purchase it.