Human nutrition, food safety and human health and well-being

INTERACTIONS BETWEEN HONEY BEE NUTRITION AND VIRAL INFECTION: AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER
Crops that are predominantly pollinated by honeybees have an estimated value of more than $215 billion worldwide, and bees are thought to be responsible for every third bite of food we eat. Since 2006 huge numbers of U.S. honeybee colonies have been lost to a mysterious malady, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which results in colony abandonment by adult worker bees. Researchers agree that CCD must be caused by a combination of several factors. This project focuses on the negative effects of infection with multiple viruses and nutritional stress.
Investigators: Amy Toth, Bryony Bonning, entomology; Allen Miller, plant pathology and microbiology

IMPROVING HUMAN FOODS: FUNCTIONALITY, SELECTION AND NUTRITION
This project focuses on improving the foods and dietary supplements consumed by people of all ages. The scope covers improvements in all consumer aspects of foods including functional, sensory, economic, nutritional and selection criteria. Research will span the basic understanding of food ingredients, nutritive value and bioavailability to understanding the fundamental roles of foods and food ingredients in human health, thereby allowing more effective intervention strategies and educational tools to be developed.
Investigators: Suzanne Hendrich, Diane Birt, Terri Boylston, Alicia Carriquiry, Ruth MacDonald, Christina Campbell, Kevin Schalinske, Stephanie Clark, Sarah Francis, James Hollis, L. Lanningham-Foster, food science and human nutrition; Basil Nikolau, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology

IMPROVING SAFETY AND HEALTH OF WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS THROUGH PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
The ultimate goal of this project is to create and test prototypes of protective clothing and gear for wildland firefighters that has enhanced function and comfort. The multi-state research project will allow information to be provided to wildland firefighters, improving their understanding of use and care of their protective clothing.
Investigator:  Eulanda Sanders, apparel, events and hospitality management

QUALITY AND SAFETY OF FRESH-CUT VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
The more than 150 registered vegetable growers in Iowa need modern food safety strategies and education to ensure the safety of their products. This project’s experiments completed on strawberries, lettuce, wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice provided information to fill in gaps about foodborne bacteria. These studies highlighted the critical areas within the growing process that can reduce the prevalence of foodborne bacteria and risk to the consumer. Good Agricultural Best Practice workshops reached more than 100 growers and educators throughout the state of Iowa. These workshops increased the knowledge required for decision-making, while providing practical suggestions for good agricultural best practices.
Investigators:  Angela Shaw, Terri Boylston, Byron Brehm-Stecher, Lester Wilson, Aubrey Mendonca, food science and human nutrition

NANOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOSENSORS
This project seeks to develop nanomaterials to generate specific molecular probes for recognizing and capturing foodborne pathogens for in-field food safety surveillance. The technology developed will be disseminated to the public through series of websites, online demo videos and workshops. New course materials on nanotechnology and biosensors will be developed and incorporated into existing college curriculum.
Investigator:  Chenxu Yu, agricultural and biosystems engineering