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Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli: Detection, Differentiation, and Implications for Food Safety

Figure 1. STEC isolation from various selective media. (A) Cells from enrichment broth are plated on CT-SMAC. (B) Suspect colonies appear as pale on CT-SMAC and steel blue on NT-Rainbow Media, and non-O157 STECs appear as pink colonies on NT-Rainbow (C) Suspect STECS expressing b-galactosidase and hemolysin are indicated by blue colonies with a zone of clearing on Sheeps blood agar (D) Typical non-O157 STECs are shown growing on CHROMagar and appear as blue colonies. Credits: Mike Cooley
Shiga toxin is a protein found within the genome of a type of virus called a bacteriophage. These bacteriophages can integrate into the genomes of the bacterium E. Coli. Even though most E. coli are benign or even beneficial members of our gut microbial communities, strains carrying Shiga-toxin encoding genes are highly pathogenic in humans and other animals. This six-page fact sheet discusses the two types of Shiga toxins and the best approaches to identifying and determining which Shiga toxin is present. Written by William J. Zaragoza, Max Teplitski, and Clifton K. Fagerquist and published by the Department of Soil and Water Sciences.

Texas Phoenix Palm Decline

Figure 5. Discoloration of the lowest (older) leaves is an early symptom of TPPD in cabbage palm.
Texas Pheonix palm decline is a new disease in Florida, caused by an unculturable bacterium. It is a fatal, systemic disease that kills palms relatively quickly. This six-page fact sheet explains the pathogen and hosts of TPPD, its symptoms, how to diagnose it, and provides disease management practices. Written by Nigel A. Harrison and Monica L. Elliott and published by the Plant Pathology Department.

Summer Squash Production in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Figure 11. Purple nutsedge emergence through plastic mulch in squash. Credits: Peter J. Dittmar
Summer squash is an important vegetable crop in Miami-Dade County. It is grown annually on about 6,000 acres and sold nationwide during the winter in the fresh market. This 16-page fact sheet describes the varieties of summer squash, land preparation and transplanting, what fertilizer to use, irrigation and freeze protection, disease management, insect management, weed management, harvest, and crop rotation. Written by D. Seal, S. Zhang, M. Ozores-Hampton, P. Dittmar, Y. Li, W. Klassen, Q. Wang, and T. Olczyk and published by the Horticultural Sciences Department.

Identifying the Attitudes and Preferences of Parents and Children for Seafood: Summary of Focus Group Results

Sea Grant seafood app photography at Wild Ocean Market on Friday, August 24th, 2012. Fish.
Seafood contains high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals that have many health benefits, but the average family’s consumption of seafood in the United States remains below recommended levels. To begin to understand how to raise consumption levels, the study described in this three-page fact sheet focused on the influence parents’ seafood consumption habits may have on their children. Written by Anh Sam, Xiang Bi, and Lisa House and published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics.

How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony

bee pollinating citrus flower

Nosema are single-celled fungal parasites that infect various animal hosts. One species, Nosema ceranae, has become the dominant microsporidian infection in western honey bee colonies. When honey bees ingest Nosema spores, many eventually starve to death because the spores replicate in the stomach and hijack the bee’s nutrition. The risk of Nosema infection can be particularly unsettling to beekeepers because colonies often do not show signs of infection until the colony is severely diminished.

This 5-page fact sheet written by Ashley N. Mortensen, Cameron J. Jack, Meghan McConnell, Liana Teigen, and Jamie Ellis and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to diagnose and quantify Nosema infection in a honey bee colony.

Encouraging Landscape Water-Conservation Behaviors #4: Florida Homeowners' Reactions to Messages that Encourage Landscape Water Conservation Practice Adoption

Sprinklers watering athletic fields. UF/IFAS Phto by Tyler Jones.

This is the fourth publication in a series focused on improving and encouraging water conservation among Florida residents who use irrigation in their home landscape. This four-page fact sheet examines the impact of differently framed messages on Florida residents’ attitudes toward good irrigation practices and their perceived ability to implement those practices. Written by Joy Rumble, Laura A. Warner, Courtney Owens, Alexa Lamm, and Randall Cantrell and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Differences in Perceptions of Agricultural Water Use between the General Public and Local Officials

John Cisar, a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is studying how turfgrass and other landscape plants can help prevent nitrogen from leaching through the soil into groundwater, Wednesday - Aug. 13, 2003. He said three years of research have shown that turfgrass is most effective in reducing nitrogen leaching and should be used in Florida landscapes. Other plants require more time to become established and slow nitrogen leaching through the soil.

Due to the scarcity of water resources among states and the influx of people, balancing agriculture and public water needs has become a contentious issue. Therefore, dialogue msut take place to educate and inform the general public and local officials about the reality of agricultural water use. This is the second article in a series describing the differences in perceptions of agricultural water use in Florida between the general public and local officials. This four-page fact sheet identifies the differens among groups for agricultural water use and provides ways to change Extension programming according to these differences. Written by Courtney T. Owens, Alexa J. Lamm, and Ricky W. Telg and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Promoting Ag Awareness through Commodity Fact Sheets

Figure 1. Watermelon Fact Sheet to support Ag Awareness Efforts.

Increasing public awareness of Florida agriculture is a vital step in motivating the public to support agriculture. A basic understanding of Florida’s agricultural products, their impacts on the economy and the environment, and their availability contributes to Extension’s mission to sustain and enhance quality of life. This three-page publication outlines a series of fact sheets with infographics related to specific Florida agricultural commodities. These fact sheets are intended to be visually appealing while presenting an overview of the commodity and its role in Florida agriculture. Written by Kathryn A. Stofer, Jessica Sullivan, Joy Rumble, and Libbie Johnson and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Healthy Eating: Meals Without Cooking

A bowl of freshly prepared mango salsa. Photo taken 10-01-15.

This 2-page fact sheet is a major revision featuring a fun word search and a delicious recipe that requires no cooking. Written by Linda B. Bobroff, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised July 2016.

Understanding Science: How to Fill the Communication Gap

Beakers and flasks of clear fluid. Ethanol, biofuel, chemistry, science, liquid

The industrialization of society has led to many scientific advancements, which have both benefits and controversies. Despite sound science, controversies around scientific issues have led the public to make decisions that disagree with scientific evidence. Why does this gap between science and perception exist? This four-page fact sheet looks at the characteristics of scientists, the media, and the public to help explain how the gap in science communication has occurred while also providing strategies for closing that gap in the future. Written by Joy N. Rumble and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Identifying Gaps between Importance and Satisfaction to Identify Extension Clients' Needs

Figure 1. Importance-Performance Matrix. Credits: Martilla & James, 1977, p.78

The third document in a series of three about using Importance-performance analyiss to prioritize Extension resources, this three-page article covers gap analysis as a means to understand a client's perceptions and rank Extension priorities. Gap analysis using IPA is an innovative and useful approach for Extension educators to conduct needs assessments and to evaluate programs. Written by Anil Kumar Chaudhary and Laura A. Warner and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Visually Plotting Importance and Satisfaction to Identify Extension Clients' Needs

Figure 1. Importance-Performance Matrix. Credits: Martilla & James, 1977, p.78

The second document in a series of three about using importance-performance analysis to prioritize Extension resources, this four-page article covers how to collect data and use them to generate visual plots. IPA data plots are attractive and easy-to-understand visual maps that display importance and satisfaction scores for certain attributes. Written by Anil Kumar Chaudhary and Laura A. Warner and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Prioritizing Extension Resources Using Perceived Importance and Satisfaction: An Underutilized Approach

Figure 1. Importance-Performance Matrix. Credits: Martilla & James, 1977, p.78

This is the first article in a series of three on using Importance-performance analysis to prioritize Extension resources. Importance-performance analysis, or IPA, measure how people feel about certain chracteristics of a place, issue, or program. Extension professionals can use IPA to make decisions and prioritize resources by understanding how clients rate the importance of and satisfaction with specific attributes of a program or facility. This three-page fact sheet explains IPA and how to use it. Written by Laura A. Warner and Anil Jumar Chaudhary and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

New Featured Creatures: June 2016

Estimated Costs and Regional Economic Impacts of the Oriental Fruit Fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) Outbreak in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Adult female oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), laying eggs by inserting her ovipositor in a papaya.

Oriental fruit flies, very destructive pests of fruits, were first detected in the Redland area of Miami-Dade County on August 26, 2015, and as of January 2016, 165 flies had been captured. This triggered an eradication program and establishment of a quarantine area composed of agricultural operations and nonagricultural properties, such as residential and commercial areas. As part of the effort to eradicate the fruit fly, growers and packers in the quarantine area are required to sign a compliance agreement that outlines the procedures necessary for harvesting, handling, and postharvest processing of agricultural products that may serve as hosts for any life cycle of the fruit fly. This 12-page fact sheet written by Sergio Alvarez, Edward A. Evans, and Alan W. Hodges and published by the UF Food and Resource Economics Department provides estimates of the direct and indirect losses to Florida’s agriculture and related sectors as a result of the outbreak and ensuing quarantine and eradication programs.

2016 US Beef Cattle Market Outlook

view of cattle crowded in an enclosure, one with ear tag facing camera over backs of others Credit: Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS

US cattle markets have experienced a roller coaster ride over the last several years, with cattle prices have been supported by a declining US beef cow herd and strong beef demand. But a turning point in the US cattle industry occurred at the beginning of 2015. This 7-page fact sheet witten by Chris Prevatt and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics includes highlights of the US cattle market’s cycle since 2004 and the estimated outlook for 2016, a brief analysis of the supply situation, food and forage conditions, demand and trade, competing meats, and the 2016 beef price outlook.

Fall Prevention: Home Safety Inventory

Sun center apartment.Most falls occur in the home, so it is wise to take time to do a home safety inventory. This 2-page fact sheet is a major revision that can be used to identify problem areas in your home. Written by Linda B. Bobroff, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised July 2016.

Healthy Eating: Fluids

A man examines a glass of water in the sunlight.More than one-half of an adult’s body weight is water. Water brings nutrients to the cells in our bodies and removes waste. Our bodies cannot function if they do not receive enough water. This 2-page fact sheet is a major revision that addresses the importance of water to physical functions, effects of dehydration, risk factors for dehydration in older adults, and fluid intake suggestions. Written by Linda B. Bobroff, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised June 2016.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Olive Extracts

istock photo: 58497852 Copyright: dulezidar
Olive oil is known for its health benefits. There are three common types of olive oil, namely virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, and olive pomace oil. Each has its unique processing method, flavor characteristics, composition, and food applications. This five-page fact sheet describes each of the types of olive oil and their pros and cons. Written by Wendy J. Dahl, Michael A. Tandlich, and Julie England and published by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.

Caregivers, Caseworkers, and Biological Parents: Risk Factors for Foster Teen Pregnancy and Ways You Can Make a Difference

Woman with her two daughters.

Many teens exhibit risk-taking behavior. That said, the past experiences of foster care youth in particular make them likely to engage in activity that could cause teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. This 9-page fact sheet is designed to provide kin and foster caregivers, caseworkers, and biological parents of children in foster care with information about the physical, emotional, and psychological concerns related to teen reproductive health in the foster care system. It also aims to help all involved identify the risk factors associated with foster teen pregnancy and explains legal rights regarding foster teen health. Written by Nora Del Giudice, Stephanie C. Toelle, David C. Diehl, and Jody S. Nicholson, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, May 2016.

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