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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Penn State University

Chocolate genome research good for farmers, environment, sweet lovers

November 8, 2012 |

News Release – UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With the help of information technology (IT), Penn State professor Mark Guiltinan makes the world a sweeter place.

Guiltinan is a professor of plant molecular biology in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He currently runs the Guiltinan Lab, where he studies crop improvement and sustainable farming methods. Guiltinan was a key player in The International Cocoa Genome Sequencing Consortium, a worldwide effort to sequence and analyze the genome of the Criollo variety of the Theobromo cacao plant, the key ingredient in high-quality chocolate. Using genome sequencing programs and computer clusters at Penn State and abroad, Guiltinan and his colleagues have mapped the cacao genome and are working to breed better, more disease-resistant cacao plants. Read More

Penn State Led Research Project Receives $10 Million Grant to Develop Perennial Feedstock Production Systems

October 28, 2012 |

News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Northeast could help lead the way to a renewable-energy-based economy by utilizing marginal and abandoned land to grow energy crops such as perennial grasses and fast-growing woody plants.

That’s the goal of a new research and education project led by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and supported by a $10 million grant, Read More

LEDs spark surprising collaboration between Penn State’s theatre arts and horticulture

September 14, 2012 |

Daniel Frechen monitored the health of a bush bean plant on Aug. 14 in an experimental growth chamber in Tyson building on Penn State's University Park campus. Click on the image above for more photos. Photo Credit: Patrick Mansell

News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It’s a rare event when one technological breakthrough can have far-reaching effects in fields as diverse as stage lighting, horticulture, entomology, energy management, and potentially, space colonization. Penn State researchers from theatre arts and horticulture have collaborated with the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) to fine-tune lighting for improved plant growth and energy conservation in greenhouses.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been used for years because of their energy-efficient properties and theatre arts professionals are well aware of the lighting sources’ ability to enhance drama on stage. But now a research grant, secured in 2010, is helping to show how the same lights can have a multi-pronged benefit in greenhouses. Read More

Free iPhone App Helps Dairy Farmers Milk Profits During Volatile Times

September 12, 2012 |

News Release — UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A free mobile app developed by Penn State researchers can help dairy farmers plow through financial planning by helping them track feed costs and income.

The DairyCents app, currently available on the Apple iPhone, helps farmers estimate income over feed cost per cow, a number that tells farmers how much money is left over to pay other expenses minus the feed costs, according to Virginia Ishler, nutrient management specialist and dairy complex manager in animal science. Another function compares feed prices in several locations across the country. Read More

Penn State and NYU to Launch Study to Investigate State of Urban Agriculture in US

August 21, 2012 |

News Release – UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Farming in the city is a hot topic in some circles, but an exact picture of urban agriculture has not yet been painted.

However, researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, along with faculty from New York University, soon will begin a study to examine the state of urban agriculture in the United States today. Read More