HUNGER AND FOOD SECURITY
PLANTING WITH PRECISION TO MAXIMIZE CROP YIELDS
SAVING TONS OF FOOD WASTE
Many don’t know where their next meal will come from, yet about one-third of the world’s food is wasted. Food waste is the most destructive type of household waste in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and an estimated 80 billion pounds of food is thrown out annually by U.S. consumers, according to an Ohio State study. Researchers held a regional conference and national webinar to address the issue and, with Louisiana State University, are developing a smartphone app to better track household food waste and help consumers make changes.
BETTER TASTING PORK BRINGS HIGHER PROFITS
Ohio State researchers are working to understand the genetic and biochemical mechanisms responsible for improved pork quality. Researchers aim to help producers meet the increasing demand for naturally tender, juicy, all-natural pork for global and domestic consumers, as the Ohio pork industry generates $542.7 million in revenue and provides 8,700 jobs. Additionally, Ohio exports $71 million in pork, resulting in 1,700 export jobs. Ohio State’s research is expected to strengthen the position of Ohio pork and provide stability in this sector of the food industry
FIGHTING FUNGUS THAT RAVAGES RICE, WHEAT
A fungal disease called wheat blast has caused severe losses in South America and is a potential threat to wheat production in the United States. Developing resistant varieties is the best approach to combat this disease. Plant pathologists at Ohio State and Kansas State have been inserting the natural defense mechanism gene in rice plants into wheat to determine if its protective effect transfers to this other staple crop. Few other plant pathogens have such an impact on nutrition, livelihood, culture and economic well-being.
IMPROVING FOOD TESTING FOR CONSUMER SAFETY
Due to melamine tainted baby formula in 2008, the authenticity of olive oil, honey and other foods have been questioned. Today, an Ohio State researcher is using portable infrared scanners to conduct tests on-site and on various foods with almost instantaneous results. A small sample of the product is scanned with a handheld spectrometer or with a scanner and attributes can be analyzed in less than a minute. This measurement could eliminate the need for lab tests that traditionally take hours or days to complete.