A pearl of a peach
goes to China
It seems that Dr. Dennis Werner, who just happens to breed peaches, has a friend, Dr. Henry Yang, who just happens to love peaches. When Werner let Yang sample a new peach variety he had developed, Yang really liked the new variety.
Yang, a plant pathologist who works in Research Triangle Park and whose doctorate came from North Carolina State University, liked the new variety so much, he suggested that Werner ship some peaches to Hong Kong, where Yangs family lives.
It seems all the Yangs are fruit lovers. Indeed, the Hong Kong Yangs like peaches so much, they travel to South Korea each year just for the harvest of a peach variety grown there that they consider particularly tasty. So thats how 20 boxes of North Carolina peaches ended up in Hong Kong in early August.
Coincidentally and appropriately, Werner calls his new variety China Pearl. When Yang suggested the Hong Kong shipment as a sort of test run to see if there might be a market for North Carolina peaches in Hong Kong, Werner enlisted the aid of Dr. Barclay Poling, coordinator of N.C. States Specialty Crops Program. The Specialty Crops Program provided boxes designed to protect peaches and filled them with China Pearl peaches from the Sandhills Research Station and the programs test market orchard at the Cunningham Research Station in Kinston. China Pearl peaches ripen in early August, and thats when they left Raleigh-Durham International Airport, on a Tuesday. They arrived in Hong Kong three days later.
So the results of this experiment in international marketing were inconclusive. Werner and Poling demonstrated that China Pearl peaches can be shipped successfully to the Orient. While their buyers (the Yangs) found the fruit only acceptable, their standards may be considerably higher than those of some other potential buyers.
More successful but less exotic was a separate China Pearl marketing effort. The Specialty Crops Program supplied China Pearl peaches to Wellspring Grocery stores in Raleigh and Durham. The peaches, which have white flesh, were a hit at the Wellspring stores. Because of their low acid content, China Pearl peaches are sweet and sugary. White flesh, low-acid peaches tend to be favored in Oriental and Hispanic cultures, which is one reason Werner and Poling were excited about the Hong Kong experiment.
So while there may yet be exotic markets for China Pearl, it appears there may also be a market for the new variety here at home.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers now have the resources to more quickly and accurately identify Pfiesteria piscicida, the toxic microbe that preys on fish in Mid-Atlantic coastal waters. A new research laboratory, in which Dr. JoAnn Burkholder will study the dinoflagellate, was dedicated in August.
The 3,400-square-foot facility will provide eight times the capacity the scientist previously had for testing water samples and five times the previous capacity for growing Pfiesteria toxins for laboratory analysis.
The new labs improved safety features include a sophisticated alarm system that monitors air quality and equipment performance. Burkholder, professor of aquatic botany and marine sciences, and her colleagues will be able to deliver results to state regulatory agencies within 24 hours.
It will serve as the central testing site for Pfiesteria samples from North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
Under a new five-state agreement, water samples from fish kills, fish disease events (also called slow kills), and waters prone to Pfiesteria will be sent to N.C. State for evaluation.
U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth, N.C. Sen. Beverly Perdue and N.C. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Wayne McDevitt were among those who toured Burkholders new lab.
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Several Atlantic Coast Conference schools dispensed with sporting rivalry in September as they broke ground for a new center designed to enhance the states coastal resources.
North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Carteret Community College have formed the Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST), a consortium of research scientists and other experts working to better understand and conserve the North Carolina coastal region and its waters and wildlife.
CMAST is working to improve forecasting of storms and flooding, to prevent fish kills and disease outbreaks, to improve fish stocks and aquaculture production and to implement research-based water-quality education programs.
The center will be headquartered in a four-story, 50,000-square-foot building on the community college campus in Morehead City. It is scheduled to open in late 1999.
So far, and yet
From his office at Fletcher, Dr. Jerry Gibson, a regional agricultural education coordinator, stays in close contact with the high school teachers he serves in North Carolinas western region. Meanwhile, thanks to communications technology, hes also able to teach a course in program planning to graduate students as far away as the coast.
To teach the course, Gibson uses a new videoconferencing system that enables the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to deliver research-based information to North Carolinians in new ways.
In the fall semester, the College expanded its 5-year-old interactive videoconferencing capabilities to take advantage of new technology and infrastructure. In addition to a new system installed at N.C. State University, videoconference centers were set up at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, where Gibson is stationed, and at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth, in the eastern part of the state.
These are the first of seven proposed sites that the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service intends to develop over the next two to three years, according to Dr. Jon Ort, director of the Extension Service.
The sites tap into the North Carolina Information Highway, a vast network that reaches into communities throughout the state. There are 150 similar sites in public institutions throughout North Carolina.
Coupled with an existing link to the North Carolina Research and Education Network, which connects campuses of the state university system, the Information Highway connection enables the Extension Service to hold administrative meetings and offer training and credit courses for its faculty and clientele at more sites throughout the state. And it offers a more flexible program schedule.
Another benefit, says Extension Distance Education Specialist Bob Gregory, is that the system allows researchers and other field-based faculty to communicate more effectively with colleagues based in Raleigh.
For students taking credit courses, the system offers a number of advantages: Those with jobs dont have to make major scheduling changes to take a course that they otherwise might have to drive hours to attend, and they can hear from guest speakers at any participating site.
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Dr. George Barthalmus, a long-time member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty, has been named to direct the Colleges Academic Programs office.
Barthalmus was appointed associate dean and director of academic programs effective Oct. 12. He has headed the Academic Programs office on an interim basis since October 1997, when Dr. Jim Oblinger, then Academic Programs head, was named dean of the College.
Barthalmus joined the Academic Programs office in 1994 as assistant director. In that position, he served as the Academic Programs liaison to College departments and was involved in to student recruitment, advising, scholars and honors programs, student outcomes, curriculum development, policy enforcement and various outreach activities.
He also served as program director for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant now in its seventh year. The grant funds efforts to promote and broaden access to biological education for undergraduates and secondary school students.
Barthalmus came to the Academic Programs office from the Department of Zoology, where he was a professor and undergraduate coordinator. Barthalmus won three North Carolina State University Outstanding Teaching Awards. He also won the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Adviser Award.
He joined the College faculty in 1970, after earning a doctorate in zoology at Pennsylvania State University.
When N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt decided that the states burgeoning Hispanic population should have a more visible role in state government and a seat at the policy-making table, he turned to a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty member with a passionate commitment to that community.
In September, Hunt named Heriberto Nolo Martinez the states director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. Among his responsibilities will be guiding the new 15-member Governors Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. The council has been charged with advising the governor on issues and policies affecting the community; working to improve race and ethnic relations; and promoting cooperation and understanding among the community, the public and local, state and federal governments.
Until Hunts term ends, Martinez will be on leave from his position as a health education specialist with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. He will continue to lead Exten-sions own Hispanic/Latino Task Force.
The creation of the College task force, the state advisory council and Martinezs position come at a time when the North Carolinas Hispanic population is growing faster than ever before. The population has nearly doubled in this decade, with the U.S. Census Bureau estimating a Hispanic population of 150,000 out of a total population of 7.4 million statewide. Martinez is the link between this population and Hunt.
Martinez comes to his role in tune with the states Hispanic population. A native of Puerto Rico, he held a position with the extension service there before pursuing a doctorate in adult education at N.C. State University.
Many of his Extension efforts involved migrant agricultural workers the vast majority of whom are Hispanic.
He became increasingly aware of the need for a better infrastructure for identifying and meeting the needs of the Hispanic and Latino population.
Eating should be fun, not frightening. But improperly prepared food can be dangerous. Now, thanks to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, anyone with Internet access can quickly find reliable answers about buying, preparing and preserving food safely.
The Food Safety Information Retrieval System is a gateway to food safety materials from all over the world. The World Wide Web address is http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/foodsci/agentinfo/
The site covers eggs, meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, fish and other seafood, and milk and other dairy products. It links to consumer publications and related organizations.
Users can find information on topics such as kitchen safety, cooking temperatures, food labeling and dating, pesticides, food safety after natural disasters, federal regulations and more.
Melissa Taylor, a food safety education and communications specialist in the Department of Food Science, created the site as part of her work toward a masters degree. Dr. Pat Curtis, a food science Extension specialist, guided Taylors efforts.
The site averages more than 3,000 hits per day. The most active day so far was Aug. 31, right after Hurricane Bonnie hit, when there were more than 40,000 visits.
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For many, Octobers Space Shuttle Discovery launch evoked memories of John Glenns 1962 orbit around the Earth. But for one North Carolina State University student, the launch was itself the stuff from which memories are made.
While the world focused on Glenns return to space, Reathal Geary looked to his future. He was one of a handful of U.S. college students whose experiments were selected to be part of the Discovery mission.
Gearys goal was to find out whether fractured strands of plant DNA could repair themselves in space. He is shown above (right) with one of his botany instructors, Dr. Christopher Brown, and the hardware that contained his experiment.
Gearys research was part of a larger effort aimed at helping NASA find ways to grow plants to help clean the air, make potable water and provide food for long space flights. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is playing an increasingly important role in that effort, having established a NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) for Gravitational Biology. Geary has gained insight into space biology by working in an NSCORT lab and by taking Browns undergraduate course.
To teach the Space Biology class, Brown drew upon his own experience. After earning a masters degree in horticulture and his doctorate in botany from N.C. State, Brown went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to help set up and run the Plant Space Biology Laboratory. He was there from 1989 to 1996, then returned to his alma mater when N.C. State received a $5 million, 5-year grant to set up NSCORT.
Taking care of business:
As the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences new business officer, Mike Cross has set a broad goal: to enable faculty and staff members to do their jobs better.
Cross joined the College's Business Office in August. He has more than two decades of experience in auditing and financial management for government and private enterprises. Most recently, he served as director of business financial services at California State University in Los Angeles.
Cross is glad to have left behind a time-consuming, nerve-wracking daily commute on Southern California freeways. The drive was a distraction from home and from work much like financial planning and decision making are to faculty and staff members who struggle with budget codes and reporting procedures.
To streamline the process to cut that commute, so to speak Cross is introducing technology that gives decision makers models for better understanding budgeting options. Hes also working to enhance training and make operations smoother and more efficient.
Officials from the university and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture planted the tree during a September ceremony celebrating the opening of the new Center for Plant Health Science and Technology.
The center will coordinate plant health research and the application of findings of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services 13 plant protection and quarantine laboratories. The centers 30 scientific and technical employees work in the recently completed Partners Building I.
Centennial Campus also will be home to a new USDA eastern regional hub, which will bring 150 APHIS jobs to the campus in 1999.
The hub will anchor a new cluster of biotechnology research and development buildings on the 1,000-acre Centennial Campus.
Gov. Jim Hunt said that having APHIS eastern hub on the campus will give federal agriculture policy makers easy access to N.C. States pool of scientific talent, a model Cooperative Extension network and the nations broadest array of agricultural and animal research laboratories and field research stations.
USDA aids in
A federal grant and a new initiative will help N.C. State University in its efforts to find solutions to animal-waste management challenges faced by farmers and communities throughout the state.
As part of a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the university, N.C. States Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center will receive $75,000 to conduct field trials of two promising waste-management technologies. The agreement was announced in mid-August.
The funding will be used to evaluate a system in which effluent flows >from swine production houses to an electric reactor, where it is treated and the solid portions removed. The remaining liquid is filtered through sand before being discharged into a lagoon.
Researchers also will evaluate a method of harvesting duckweed, an aquatic plant that helps remove nutrients and minerals from wastewater.
Funding to study such promising technologies was introduced in the new federal Animal Waste Research Act, which authorizes the USDA to make grants to universities and other institutions for animal waste management research. The legislation was introduced earlier this year by one of North Carolinas congressmen, Rep. Bob Etheridge of Lillington.
You and I know how great the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is, but there are some folks who havent heard. So three dozen students known as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassadors are out and about, spreading the word.
The ambassadors are an active bunch. They speak at high schools and civic group meetings, help with campus events and alumni activities, and escort and answer questions from prospective students on campus for the Spend-A-Day-at-State program.
The students speak on topics such as Small Town to Big Campus, Not Just Cows, Sows and Plows: Clearing Up Misconceptions About N.C. State, N.C.States Contributions to the State of North Carolina, and Choosing a Major: Choosing Your Future.
Derek Foster, a senior animal science and pre-vet major from Mocksville, says that being an ambassador has given him the opportunity to meet and work with everyone from prospective students to alumni and has helped him improve his communication and leadership skills.
This is the second year the ambassadors program has been active. Ambassadors must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. This year, 105 students were nominated; 20 were chosen.
Cynthia Eudy, a junior agricultural business management major, says, I am an ambassador primarily to show the pride that I have in both N.C. State University and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Being an ambassador has given me the opportunity to meet different people throughout the agriculture industry and allowed me to promote North Carolina agriculture.
Bottcher, who also serves as assistant director of the Colleges Alumni Society, sees other long-term benefits of the program. People who are active in the College while they are students are likely to remain involved after they graduate.
If you are interested in having one or more ambassadors speak to your group, contact Sharon Bottcher at (919) 515-7857; fax (919) 515-6980; or email email@example.com.
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