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You know you're in a pretty remote area when the only people who ever tried to survey it on foot died of malaria. The rivers are filled with deadly electric eels and crocodile stew is a staple dinner dish. Never-before-discovered animal species are, well, all over the place.
Such was the trip to the Guyana Shield by a group of scientists from Oregon State University, the Smithsonian Institution, Conservation International, Guyana and others. They visited one of the world's most remote, pristine and truly remarkable terrains in the northern jungles of South America.
Traveling there by overloaded small plane, canoe and foot through steaming rain forests was anything but easy. But the end result is significant additions to both OSU's Arthropod Collection and the Center for the Study of Biological Diversity in Georgetown, Guyana.
"This trip was a huge success," said OSU entomologist Christopher Marshall, who oversees three million specimens in the university's collection, which researchers hope to build into one of the best in the nation. "Once mounted and identified, a task that will take several years, many specimens will be sent back to colleagues and collections in Guyana to help build their museums. But many will be retained at OSU to strengthen our holdings as well."
In a handful of food science labs around the country, people who talk about food in terms of microbes and polymers have been turning the natural pathogen fighters found in everyday food into edible films and powders. If their work pans out, thin films woven with a thyme derivative that can kill E. coli could line bags of fresh spinach. As shoppers demand safer food, they’re also demanding healthier food made with ingredients they can pronounce. “We’re working on consumer-friendly antimicrobials, so people will read the package label and not freak out,” said Mark Daeschel, a professor of food science at OSU, who teamed up with the food scientist Yanyun Zhao to engineer an
edible film made from a fiber found in crab and shrimp shells.
Envision an economical and simple wastewater treatment system that provides both clean water and generates electricity for people in countries with limited access to both.
Such a system is possible thanks to revolutionary research by OSU biological and ecological engineering professor Hong Liu and her colleagues. Liu’s team specializes in microbial fuel cells (MFCs), devices that convert biodegradable materials, such as pollutants in wastewater, into electricity using bacteria. As the bacteria consume the pollutants, they shed excess electrons, which flow through a circuit and generate electricity. In the process, pollutants are broken down, resulting in clean water.
Michael Goodman, a senior in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has combined his love of language and computers to create a Japanese-English translation program.
More than 140 scientists and master brewers representing 13 different countries will meet at Oregon State University August 9-10 for what organizers say is the first international brewers’ symposium to focus on the unique role of hops in making beer. Topical sessions begin with a presentation by Denis De Keukeleire from Ghent University in Belgium, who is widely regarded as “the godfather of hops,” according to OSU food scientist Thomas Shellhammer.
Kaichang Li, the Oregon State University professor who invented a non-toxic
adhesive for production of wood composite panels, has been recognized
with a 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
OSU professor of political science David Bernell will travel to Israel on May 26 to study the threat of terrorism in that country as part of a fellowship with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "As someone who teaches international relations, I’m interested in getting an up-close look at one of the world’s most interesting, and troubled, areas," Bernell said.
Sam Chan, an OSU Extension invasive species
expert, will lead a three-state delegation of invasive species,
restoration, and science education and communications experts on an
11-day trip to China this month. Its aim is to help the Chinese begin to assess the extent of a
non-native marine grass invasion that threatens mangrove-dominated
coastal forests in that country's Fujian province.
Nontoxic, soy-based adhesives and wood-plastic composites are some of the new products emerging from Kaichang Li’s OSU laboratory in the Department of Wood Science and Engineering.
A team of Oregon State University veterinary medicine students will journey to Nicaragua at the end of fall term to spend two weeks in remote villages providing veterinary care to large animals, conducting public outreach and education, and hosting free spay and neuter clinics.
The seven students are part of the International Veterinary Student Association chapter at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.