Research Impact

Project Impact Statements

Science-based interventions to prevent and mitigate small-scale dairy manufacturing operations food safety threats.

Unpasteurized milk and milk products can be a vehicle of foodborne illness and small-scale producers are often considered a higher risk. With consumer interest driving rapid  growth of small-scale dairy manufacturing operations throughout the United States there is a need to better understand and identify the risks associated with this industry.  Based on previous outbreak information and lack of validated control strategies, there is a critical need for actionable, science based interventions to mitigate these threats.

Dr. Dennis D'Amico's participation in Hatch Multistate project, S1056,  "Enhancing Microbial Food Safety by Risk Analysis" integrates risk-based research and outreach to improve food safety and reach target populations including producers, regulators, and inspectors as well as those who advise them. Over 400 environmental samples were collected from surfaces in artisan cheese production facilities to determine and evaluate overall hygiene and the presence of pathogenic bacteria.  Test results identified the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) on non-food contact sites thereby characterizing the risk that this organism poses to the small-scale dairy industry as well as the variability between processor.

Science-based interventions to prevent and mitigate food safety threats were developed including antimicrobial dip treatments, coating applications and acidification-based brine treatment protocols.    One-on-one technical assistance and training was provided to small-scale cheese producers to implement changes to control and eliminate contaminants.  Data from follow-up visits detail the reduction in hygiene indicator numbers and the elimination of pathogens from contaminated sites.   Study results contributed to the American Cheese Society Code of Best Practices and to an online food safety training course for cheese producers. 

Reduce harmful pesticide use with plants identified as an effective method of control for pests

Public concern about pesticide use in urban areas where children may come in contact with pesticide material has energized the demand for pest management programs that rely on less chemical insecticides.   In addition, a report by the national Academy of Sciences indicated that homeowners tend to use as much as ten times more chemicals per acre on their lawns than farmers use on agricultural land.

Dr. Ana Legrand's participation in Hatch Multistate project NE1332, "Biological Control of Arthropod Pests and Weeds," evaluated the use of flowers as a biological control to protect cold vegetable crops from the caterpillar pest complex (diamondback moth, imported cabbageworm, etc.)   Research evaluated each plant type for natural enemies that visited the flowers for nectar and shelter. Results documented a high diversity of natural enemies visiting the flowers; 14 families representative of insect parasitoids and 9 families of mostly insect predator.  Notably, the insects did not reach pest status or negatively impact plant quality and most plants in the vicinity of the cut flowers did not suffer damage from leaf feeding beetles.

Based on study results several cut flowers examined are recommended for natural enemy attraction and conservation; Ammi majus, Gomphrena globosa “Vegas White’, Celosia argentea cristata ‘Kurme’ and C. agrenta cristat ‘triangle mix’.  Not only do cut flowers have pest resistant qualities, several varieties such as the Gomphrena cultivars produce interesting and aesthetically pleasing seed pod that can be used as a dried component in flower arrangements.   In addition, Ammi majus was selected for further studies with cabbage because of the high diversity, type and number of natural enemies it attracted.   The long term goal of this research is to assist agricultural managers and home gardeners with plant selection as a method of control for identified pest species, while reducing harmful chemical use and cost, as well as producing beneficial cut and dried flowers.
Multistate Research Fund Impact Archives

NIFA - Shared Impact stories
NIFA-supported research supports transformative discoveries, improving education, and engaging the public to address agricultural challenges.


 

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