- Author: Marissa Palin
I often look at foods and wonder, “Who’s idea was it to eat this?” Some foods just don’t look like they should be food, including huitlacoche.
Huitlacoche is corn smut — a fungus that often infects sweet corn during times of drought. It enters the plant through the ovaries, and replaces the corn kernels with large tumor-like spores that look like really ugly mushrooms. Farmers in the U.S. have spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate the infection. The UC Davis Student Farm has a bad case of corn smut this year, and it’s threatening to ruin their entire crop.
But it may not be such a bad thing. Often known as the...
- Author: Eve Hightower
Peppers in an array of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors grown at the UC Davis Student Farm are igniting interest in plant breeding and the astonishing botanical diversity of the Capsicum genus, to which all peppers belong.
“Fifty-two varieties is a wonderful candyland for me, but it’s just a few of the many varieties in the world,” said graduate student Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, who works on a partnership project between the Student Farm and researcher Allen Van Deynze.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pepper project is meant to...
- Author: Sarah Yang
- Editor: Ann Brody Guy
Every wonder whether those crowd-sourced reviews online actually make a difference in a business’s bottom line? For restaurants, the answer is an unequivocal yes, according to a new study by UC Berkeley economists. Researchers analyzed restaurant ratings on Yelp.com and found that, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, a half-star rating increase translates into a 19 percent greater likelihood that an eatery’s seats will be full during peak dining times.
“This is the first study to link online consumer reviews with the popularity of restaurants,” said study lead author Michael Anderson, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC...
- Author: Sandra Ortega
Betsy Knapp, a former social worker, always knew that she loved helping people. But the experience of becoming a UC CalFresh Master Education Extender revealed her passion for nutrition education.
The Master Education Extender Team (MEET) was designed to recruit volunteers in the community and train them to extend UC CalFresh family-centered nutrition education in the community.
MEET is growing rapidly. Just nine months old, MEET has six active extenders who have delivered nutrition education based on USDA's MyPlate guidelines at various targeted...
- Author: Pat Bailey
Restaurant patrons with their varied food preferences play a huge role in determining which food items are included on the menu. Now an international team of researchers, including a UC Davis plant scientist, is finding that plant-eating insects do much the same in the natural world, maintaining and shaping the genetic variation of their host plants in a geographic area.
The plant-grazing bugs accomplish this by forcing the plants to create diverse natural defenses to avoid being eaten, which in turn shapes the genetic makeup of the plants in a region. The researchers discovered this by studying aphids and the broccoli-like research plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Their findings provide the first measurable evidence...