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Image of the week

NRCA renunion

“So great seeing NRCA alumni from three cohorts this past Friday at NRCA’s first reunion (and so many at UConn)! We plan to have future reunion events, so stay tuned.” www.facebook.com/NRCAcademy/posts/1516393541777623

Historical image of the week

Wilfred B. Young and Raymond K. Clapp Postmaster Douda

Wilfred B. Young and Raymond K. Clapp Postmaster Douda. By Jerauld A. Manter, 1944. From the Jerauld A. Manter Photograph Collection, University of Connecticut Photograph Collection.

Agricultural economist measures impact of forthcoming federal GMO labeling law

John Bovay

John Bovay

A new label on food packaging could soon alter the purchasing habits of American shoppers and significantly affect producer operations. A federal law will take effect in July 2018 that informs consumers about the genetic science that may be at work behind their favorite foods. This designation may lead to price increases and other far-reaching consequences in the grocery industry and beyond, says Assistant Professor John Bovay of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UConn Extension, and the College’s GMO Working Group. Bovay has started investigating how the execution of the legislation might take shape and the ways it could reverberate through the national economy.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) law introduces labeling standards that require companies to disclose if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are present in their products. Although many consumers and non-government organizations (NGOs), such as the Non-GMO Project, champion greater transparency and increased awareness about the foods we eat and drink, Bovay cautions that it could further perpetuate misconceptions about the safety of genetic engineering (GE) technology in food production. These factors could drive customers and producers to respond in ways legislators may not have intended or foreseen. These reactions also largely depend on how the government decides to implement and regulate the law, but they have thus far offered few details on their plans. Despite these challenges, Bovay is drawing from prior examples of labeling initiatives and consulting other relevant studies to project the outcomes and costs of the new law. Bovay is completing his research with Julian Alston, a distinguished professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. (more…)

Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Jerry Yang Road 2

This road, perpendicular to Route 195, was named to honor Jerry Yang. (Patsy Evans/CAHNR photo)

UConn Today reported that the UConn Board of Trustees approved the naming of Jerry Yang Road to honor the memory of Xiangzhong ‘Jerry’ Yang, who was an internationally renowned animal science professor before his death. The article said, “He is best remembered for cloning Amy, a Holstein calf born at UConn in June 1999, the first cloned farm animal in the United States.” Yang is also memorialized at several sites in his native Hebei Province, China.

The new sign is installed on the street that leads to the UConn Dairy Bar from Route 195.

By Patsy Evans

 

 

 

Researcher uses nanotechnology to design food-based nutrient delivery systems for treatment and prevention of chronic diseases

The Luo lab research team. Left to right: PhD students Mingyong Zhou, Taoran Wang, Jingyi Xue (PhD student) and Qiaobin Hu; and Yangchao Luo.

The Luo lab research team. Left to right: PhD students Mingyong Zhou, Taoran Wang, Jingyi Xue (PhD student) and Qiaobin Hu; and Yangchao Luo.

Yangchao Luo’s passion is food. At home, Luo likes to cook Chinese food and tasty soups for his toddler daughter. In his lab at UConn, where he holds his primary appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and  joint appointments in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Institute of Materials Sciences, he focuses on groundbreaking work in the emerging science of nanotechnology as applied to food. He wants to make healthy food healthier for individuals with special needs as well as for the rest of us. Luo became interested in functional foods as an undergraduate, and his interest grew as he worked toward his MS in food science and Ph.D. in nutrition and food science.

When foods are fortified or enriched, they become functional foods. But the biological efficacy of nutrients in functional foods is hardly realized due to limited bioavailability when the foods are ingested. Bioavailability is the proportion of a nutrient absorbed and therefore able to produce a particular effect. Many nutrients, such as vitamins and phytochemicals, are known to have a low bioavailability. The major goal of research in Luo’s laboratory is to use nanotechnology to improve the bioavailability of those nutrients and eventually help treat and prevent chronic diseases when they are put back into food. Luo uses food-grade biomaterials, including proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, to create non-toxic nanoscale vehicles that can carry nutrients and boost their absorption, making them more bioavailable.

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