Breaking research from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Either quote directly from the release or arrange a call with the researcher(s). For more information, contact Samara Sit, Assistant Dean for Marketing and Communications, at 607-254-5137 or

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Heritage and Ancient Grain Project Feeds a Growing Demand

Jul 19, 2017
After a century of markets dominated by a few types of wheat and white flour, ancient and heritage wheat varieties are making a comeback. Restaurants and bakeries that promote organic and local agriculture have sprouted up across the country in the last decade, meeting a rising consumer demand for tasty and nutritious foods that support an ethic of sustainability. In the Northeast, for example, Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan serves local and seasonal dishes. Its rotating menu offers “roasted beets and kale salad with einkorn and candied pistachio” and “sea urchin risotto with ancient grains and ruby red shrimp.” [...] Read more

Despite a Great Grip, Geckos Sometimes Slip

Jul 19, 2017
Geckos climb vertically up trees, walls and even windows, thanks to pads on the digits of their feet that employ a huge number of tiny bristles and hooks. Scientists have long marveled at the gecko’s adhesive capabilities, which have been described as 100 times more than what is needed to support their body weight or run quickly up a surface. But a new theoretical study examines for the first time the limits of geckos’ gripping ability in natural contexts [...] Read more

Madoff Rip-off Shattered Trust, Changed Investment Behavior

Jul 18, 2017
Notorious financier Bernie Madoff bilked more than 10,000 investors out of billions of dollars in the 1990s and 2000s in the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. But the effect of Madoff’s elaborate Ponzi scheme rippled far beyond his direct victims. For the first time, a Cornell University researcher and his colleagues have quantified just how much the rip-off cost the financial industry. After the fraud was discovered, people who knew Madoff’s victims or who lived in areas where victims were concentrated lost trust [...] Read more

DNA Tracking Tool Tips the Scales for Distinguishing Invasive Fish

Jul 14, 2017
Rather than conduct an aquatic roll call with nets to know which fish reside in a particular body of water, scientists can now use DNA fragments suspended in water to catalog invasive or native species. “We’ve sharpened the environmental DNA (eDNA) tool, so that if a river or a lake has threatened, endangered or invasive species, we can ascertain genetic detail of the species there,” said senior author David Lodge, the Francis J. DiSalvo Director of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University, and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology [...] Read more

Tiny Wasps Add a Sting to Lily Beetle Battle

Jul 13, 2017
Many gardeners across New York state have given up on growing lilies, thanks to the lily leaf beetle, which has devastated the plants in many areas statewide, across the Northeast and in Canada. Researchers at Cornell University have now released parasitoid wasps as a natural control and alternative to pesticides at three test sites across the state [...] Read more

‘Eelevator’ Project Helps Eels Survive Journey Through New York Waters

Jul 6, 2017
An “eelevator” designed and built by a team that includes Cornell University researchers is helping American eels survive their harrowing journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Hudson River and into rivers in or near New York City. In the past, eel ladders and “trap-and-pass” devices have been used on the Hudson River to give the fish access to the waters above dams. But in what may be a first, a liftable version placed on the Sparkill Creek in Rockland County is providing a new way to assist eels on their migration [...] Read more

Bacteria-Coated Nanofiber Electrodes Clean Pollutants in Wastewater

Jun 28, 2017
Cornell University materials scientists and bioelectrochemical engineers may have created an innovative, cost-competitive electrode material for cleaning pollutants in wastewater. The researchers created electro-spun carbon nanofiber electrodes and coated them with a conductive polymer, called PEDOT, to compete with carbon cloth electrodes available on the market. When the PEDOT coating is applied, an electrically active layer of bacteria – Geobacter sulfurreducens – naturally grows to create electricity and transfer electrons to the novel electrode [...] Read more

Tiny Mite Takes a Major Bite Out of NYS Honeybee Population, Threatens Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Jun 28, 2017
A tiny mite is causing major problems for New York’s honeybee population and is threatening the fruit and vegetable crops that are a major part of the state’s agriculture industry. The varroa mite is a common parasite that weakens honeybee colonies by feeding on bee blood and fat stores, and transmitting deadly viruses across the colony. One of those viruses, deformed wing virus, causes misshapen wing growth in infected bees [...] Read more

Rising Seas Could Result in 2 Billion Refugees By 2100

Jun 23, 2017
In the year 2100, 2 billion people – about one-fifth of the world’s population – could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels. Those who once lived on coastlines will face displacement and resettlement bottlenecks as they seek habitable places inland, according to Cornell University research [...] Read more

Climate Change Label Leads to Climate Science Acceptance

Jun 21, 2017
On the heels of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science. The U.S. public doubts the existence of “global warming” more than it doubts “climate change” – and Republicans are driving the effect, the research shows [...] Read more

Name That Tasty Table Grape, New from Cornell CALS

Jun 20, 2017
Big on flavor, aroma and size, Cornell University’s newest grape lacks one defining feature: a name. Grape breeder Bruce Reisch spent years developing the grape, and now he’s offering the public the chance to name it. Currently dubbed NY98.0228.02, the grape is a seedless, flavorful berry with the attractive blue coloring of a Concord at nearly double the size [...] Read more

Transforming Last Night’s Leftovers into Green Energy

Jun 19, 2017
In a classic tale of turning trash into treasure, two different processes soon may be the favored dynamic duo to turn food waste into green energy, according to a new Cornell University-led study. “Food waste should have a high value. We’re treating it as a resource, and we’re making marketable products out of it,” said lead author Roy Posmanik, a postdoctoral researcher. “Food waste is still carbon – a lot of carbon.” [...] Read more

Healthy Diet? That Depends on Your Genes

Jun 12, 2017
recently published Cornell University study describes how shifts in the diets of Europeans after the introduction of farming 10,000 years ago led to genetic adaptations that favored the dietary trends of the time. Before the Neolithic revolution that began around 10,000 years ago, European populations were hunter-gatherers that ate animal-based diets and some seafood. But after the advent of farming in southern Europe around 8,000 years ago, European farmers switched to primarily plant-heavy diets [...] Read more

NY Grows Greater Greenhouse Crops with Less Energy

Jun 5, 2017
A public-private consortium led by researchers at Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is poised to match consumer appetite for increased, local vegetable production with reduced greenhouse energy consumption. The Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering consortium is being launched to transform the way greenhouses operate in order to reduce electricity use up to 70 percent [...] Read more

Common Sweetener in Low-Cal Foods Also a Marker for Weight Gain

May 10, 2017
A new study has identified the sugar alcohol erythritol as a biomarker for increasing fat mass. In contrast to previous assumptions and research, erythritol can be metabolized by, and even produced in, the human body. Erythritol occurs naturally in a variety of foods, such as pears and watermelons, but in recent years has increasingly become a common ingredient in low-calorie foods as a sugar replacement sweetener [...] Read more

More Prime-Time Ads Could Kick Drunken Driving to the Curb

Apr 24, 2017
More than 10,000 people die each year from alcohol-related accidents, and drunken driving is a leading killer of young people. Public service announcements about the dangers of drunken driving could change that – but only if more people see those ads, according to a new Cornell University study [...] Read more

New Data Unearths Pesticide Peril in Beehives

Apr 20, 2017
Honeybees – employed to pollinate crops during the blooming season – encounter danger due to lingering and wandering pesticides, according to a new Cornell University study that analyzed the bee’s own food [...] Read more