University of Connecticut

Countdown to Cornucopia!

cfestlogoThe tents are up and it’s coming! Join us for Cornucopia Fest 2014 this Sunday, September 21, 2014, in Storrs, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Do the Cornucopia Challenge, test your strength compared to the wind’s, play Supermarket Scramble, run the 5K, paint a pumpkin, breathe your way to better health, build a Roman aqueduct from Legos, get your soil’s pH tested,  take a hayride, bid on a Block Island getaway, have your sick plants diagnosed, enjoy the chicken BBQ and an ice cream cone … Phew!  Click here for links to information on activities, scheduled events, location and maps of the area and the event.



What every Connecticut resident needs to understand about UConn Extension

By Jennifer Riggs
UConn Extension volunteer
Chair, Centennial Committee

I wish UConn Extension was not the best-kept secret in the state. It’s time everybody knew what a tremendous resource Extension is. Congress established the Cooperative Extension System as a national network in 1914 to tie university research to real life. UConn Extension programs have evolved over time, and as our state has changed, so has Extension to meet new and emerging needs. One hundred years after its inception, UConn Extension continues to impact the lives of our citizens statewide as it did 100 years ago.

The Smith lever Act came out of Congress to help communities grow better crops and plants, use land more wisely and provide safer food. It began by engaging youth through 4-H, their parents through adult education and farmers through training in cropping systems and business management. Those concepts still hold today but it has gone beyond rural agriculture and into urban audiences. These are “university” students in the community who still have concerns about growing food in a variety of ways, still have concerns about how we use our land and now more than ever, want information about food safety and nutrition. (more…)

Historical image of the week

Ladies with flowers

Eleanor Herta Mbalala and Cora Webb, Home Demonstration Agent, Tolland County Extension Service

Meet undergraduate Sumia Hussain


Sumia Hussain

From the moment she arrived at UConn, Sumia Hussain dedicated her college career to empowering others. The allied health sciences major founded a student organization, interned abroad and planned many on-campus events. Now, Sumia hopes to continue this pattern of leadership and service to others as she graduates in the spring and enters the public health field. Here is what she said in an interview.

What attracted you to UConn? Growing up in Connecticut, I constantly heard about UConn. I attended many events that were hosted by the Pakistani Community at UConn (PCUC) and performances at Jorgenson Center for the Performing Arts. However, I still did not plan to attend UConn until my Husky-for-a-Day visit. I fell in love with UConn that day. I loved seeing how engaged, involved and spirited students are on campus. I was also lucky enough to receive the Day of Pride Scholarship and be accepted into the Honors Program. The Honors Program gave me the opportunity to have a small college experience at a large university. (more…)

Scientists succeed with a Salmonella solution, naturally

Kumar V.Lab

Kumar Venkitanarayanan works to reduce Salmonella in chickens.

Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) is the number one poultry-borne pathogen in the United States, and it can infect humans when they eat contaminated eggs. There is no fully effective vaccination for the pathogen.  No researchers have used plant products to treat the infection where it starts, in chickens. Until now.

Working with collaborators, Kumar Venkitanarayanan, Professor of Food Microbiology and Safety in UConn’s Department of Animal Science, is trying to control SE in chickens with plant-derived, food-grade antimicrobials. His success so far has national importance in a country where people eat 50 million eggs every year and have increasing concerns about food safety.

National Poultry Science Association President Michael Kidd praised Venkitanarayanan’s work when he said it reflected “the very high quality and forward-looking nature of current poultry research, and its focus on improving the production, safety and quality of poultry products that reach the consumer.”

The goal

The four-year project, funded by the USDA, involves investigating the effectiveness and safety of specific antimicrobials by using them as chicken feed additives and disinfecting egg washes to control SE. (more…)