Food & Agriculture

UCD Citizen Science Project on the Tomato Seed Microbiome

What do you get when you combine UC Davis alumni, tomato seeds, and citizen science?   That would be Project GASP (“Germ”-ination Alumni Science Project).  I didn't come up with the name, I swear.   This project, sponsored and paid for by the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, is interested in looking at the heritability of the tomato seed microbiome.  There is a large body of research on the importance of the microbiome for the health and productivity of plants in agriculture.   T

Compost, cover crops increase carbon in soil

In a 19-year study at the University of California, Davis, scientists dug six feet down in a study plot to compare changes in soil carbon in conventional, cover-cropped, and compost-added plots of corn-tomato and wheat-fallow cropping systems. Their findings showed that soil health and the importance of carbon is more complex than often realized but, with the right management, the soil is a huge natural resource where carbon can be sequestered. The implications are that the right applications not only help to slow the rapid rise of carbon in the atmosphere but foster effective sustainable agriculture.

New Packaging Aims to Prevent Produce Spoilage

There’s an old saying that “one bad apple spoils the whole barrel.” But that may no longer be the case thanks to new materials being developed by UC Davis researchers to line produce bins and for reusable packaging. UC Davis food scientist Nitin Nitin with samples of antifouling, antibacterial plastic. The material could be used for packaging and for lining produce bins. The goal is to produce plastics that both repel bacteria and reduce food-spoilage microbes. The antimicrobial activity comes from chlorine bound to the plastic. It would be recharged by rinsing with a bleach solution. The bacteria-repelling, or antifouling property comes from the plastic itself. It feels slippery, so if bacteria cannot stick to a surface, they cannot grow and form a contaminating film.