Gas Pump Handles are Filthiest Surfaces Americans touch

Gas pump handles are swarming with loads of bacteria and viruses. They have been identified as the dirtiest surface Americans encounter on the way to work, according to a recently released study by Kimberley-Clark Professional, a unit of personal hygiene giant Kimberley-Clark Corp. Continue reading

U of Minnesota Researchers Discover a Natural Food Preservative that Kills Food-Borne Bacteria

University of Minnesota researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic — a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria — that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

The U of M lantibiotic is the first natural preservative found to kill gram-negative bacteria, typically the harmful kind. “It’s aimed at protecting foods from a broad range of bugs that cause disease,” said Dan O’Sullivan, a professor of food science and nutrition in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. “Of the natural preservatives, it has a broader umbrella of bugs that it can protect against.”

The lantibiotic could be used  Continue reading

No Need to Use Poison Learn Some Green Gardening Secrets against Bugs

As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.

In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn’t get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide–just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.

Prevention

Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and  Continue reading

How an Epidemic of Dead Bats Could Make Your Groceries More Expensive

It’s bad enough that the U.S. honeybee population has dropped precipitously in the past few years, threatening the existence of all pollinated crops (that’s one-third of American agriculture). Now an epidemic may be hitting the country’s bats–and it has the potential to further threaten agriculture.

Bats are the unsung heroes of organic farming, consuming massive amounts of pests on a daily basis. The little brown bat, Montana’s most common bat species, gobbles up 1,200 insects per hour and in one 2006 study, bats in South-Central Texas were shown to have an annual pest control value of over $740,000 (29% of the value of the area’s cotton crop). For organic farms, this is key, since pest control is hard enough with chemicals. Continue reading