Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Resources News from Iowa State University
January 14th, 2002
PROMISING NEW ISU SOY PLASTICS CAN DAMPEN SOUND, VIBRATION
Chemists associated with the Center for Crops Utilization Research at Iowa State University are developing unique, new plastics based on soybean oil. The Iowa Soybean Promotion Board (ISPB) has funded the research by chemistry faculty Richard Larock and Valerie Sheares for the past five years. "Our goal is to make useful plastic materials," Larock said. "We've already found some interesting thermal and mechanical properties for our plastics." For example, the researchers have found that the soy plastics have good sound and vibration dampening properties that could allow them to be used as a noise baffle for washing machines. Currently, the ISPB is funding a study to determine the economic feasibility of the soy-based plastics. Larock said soy oil is 17 cents per pound, while styrene, a chemical commonly used in plastics, is 40 cents per pound. With 60 billion pounds of synthetic plastics produced each year, a change from styrene to soy oil could be a huge economic benefit for soybean farmers, Larock said. The Center for Crops Utilization Research is a center of Iowa State's Plant Sciences Institute and College of Agriculture. Contact Larock, (515) 294-4660, or Bridget Bailey, News Service, (515) 294-6881.
ISU RESEARCHERS SAY KNOWING HOW TO CHOOSE HEALTHY FOODS DOESN'T CHANGE HOW WE EAT
You know the cliche; you are what you eat. Even though it's true, it doesn't stop most of us from eating foods that aren't healthy. Researchers at Iowa State University have found that most people are aware that they should eat healthier foods but don't. Steve Sapp, Iowa State sociologist, said many people lack the knowledge to do so. They understand they should be eating better and they know what to eat, but they aren't sure how to make good nutrition a reality. "Americans are eating better but not as well as they could," Sapp said. About 60 percent of Americans meet the recommended daily requirements, which Sapp points out is the least amount required for a nutritious diet. The study results will be used to help extension nutritionists produce educational programs that will give people the know-how to improve their eating habits. The article is being published in the first 2002 issue of Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal. Contact Sapp, (515) 294-1403, or Barb McManus, Ag Communications, (515) 294-0707.
ISU ANSWERS SWINE QUESTIONS AT 2002 IOWA PORK CONGRESS
Twenty Iowa State University campus and field swine specialists will present a variety of seminars at the 2002 Iowa Pork Congress, Jan. 23-24, in Des Moines. Seminar topics include on-farm phytase research, disease trends and surveillance at the ISU diagnostic lab, economic effects of an antibiotic ban and instrumental methods of air quality assessment. Presenters are from ISU Extension and ISU Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine. Producers also can visit the ISU Ask-a-Specialist area in the Whitfield Room, lower level of Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, to ask questions about animal health, animal science, hog facilities and the environment, farm management, genetics and reproduction, nutrition, personnel management and computer software. The Iowa Pork Industry Center display, also in the lower level, will feature information on a new closeout program called Group Tracker and a series of finishing management seminars set for late February. Contact Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
ISU SEED TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE WILL FOCUS ON GMO ISSUES
"Working with Biotech Seeds" is the theme for the 24th annual Seed Technology Conference, which will be Feb. 19 at the Scheman Building, Iowa State University. The conference for professionals in the seed industry will cover issues pertinent to genetically modified seeds. Topics include the global status of GMOs, barriers to movement, StarLink, the new farm bill and risk management of adventitious presence. Research updates will be presented on bean pod module virus, soybean cyst nematodes, seed quality and bulk handling. A one-day, pre-conference workshop on Feb. 18 will provide hands-on training of the latest protocols used in testing for seed genetic traits, including testing for StarLink. A half-day, post-conference workshop on Feb. 20 will cover the principles of proper seed plant design and its effect on seed quality. The seed technology conference and workshops are organized and presented by the Seed Science Center, a center of the Plant Sciences Institute and the College of Agriculture at Iowa State. For information about program content, contact Dan Curry, Seed Science Center, (515) 294-0117. For information about registration and fees, contact Deb Schmidt, (515) 294-5961. Contact Curry, (515) 294-0117, or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778.