Hot Pepper Plots Picked Clean in ‘HYOP’ 2014

Hot Peppers gleaning - 2014In the second annual “Harvest Your Own Pepper” (HYOP) event on October 15, the hot pepper plots at Hort Farm III on Ryders Lane in New Brunswick were once again open to Rutgers faculty and staff to pick their own hot peppers left over from research variety trials. Albert Ayeni, ethnic crop specialist, and Tom Orton, extension specialist in vegetable breeding, are conducting the hot pepper trials for selecting varieties that grow well in New Jersey. In addition, they are investigating the peppers’ potential use as ornamental plants and medicinal foods. Read more about the hot pepper research and the first HYOP in 2013.

Rutgers professor develops ‘superfood’ lettuce

Blueberries are considered the gold standard of "superfoods" because of their high levels of polyphenols, beneficial compounds shown to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. However, this seasonal fruit, often priced at a premium, is high in sugar content, requiring limited consumption by people on restrictive diets…A new superfood that’s low in sugar and available year-round and exceeds the high polyphenol content of blueberries hits the market this month. This high-polyphenol lettuce has been named Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) – a tribute to Rutgers’ school mascot and color, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and is the brainchild of Rutgers Distinguished Professor in Plant Biology Ilya Raskin.

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Rutgers Professor’s ‘Super Lettuce’ To Hit Grocery Store Shelves Saturday

Thanks to a Rutgers professor, one of our healthiest foods has gotten healthier and the product is hitting grocery store shelves on Saturday. "[It's]The first time I think something really good happened to lettuce, because it’s the second most commonly consumed vegetable in the world and yet it’s not known for anything good or bad and now it’s gotten a functionality and some true benefits for health," plant biology professor Ilya Raskin told WCBS 880′s Levon Putney. Raskin broke down lettuce into individual cells, reproduced the cells high in antioxidants and there you go – super lettuce!

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New Jersey’s Creeping Crisis in Water Infrastructure

stormwateroutfall_3New Jersey has an enviable system of water supply, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. However, the State has historically under-invested in maintaining these systems and has not upgraded many antiquated components to modern standards. Associate Research Professor for Water, Society & the Environment Daniel Van Abs and his research team have completed recent reports on these issues for Together North Jersey (a regional cooperative planning project managed by Rutgers) and New Jersey Future (a statewide non-profit dedicated to improved local, regional and statewide planning). Van Abs presented an overview of the issues, the existing management systems and recommendations for better future results in a lecture on Cook Campus on October 8. Read more in The Daily Targum.

Alumni Story: Tom Pluta (Ag ’64, GSNB ’76), A Solid Foundation

Tom Pluta

Tom Pluta

The School’s open invitation to alumni to share their “stories” has resulted in scores of interesting, even inspirational, memoirs about work and careers and the influence that their Rutgers education and experiences had on the direction of their lives.

And in some cases, there have been several roads taken. Such is the case with Deacon Tom Pluta, a 1964 graduate from the College of Agriculture, who came back to earn his master’s degree in environmental science in 1976.

Born and raised in Linden, N.J., with, as he puts it, “the sight (and smell) of the Bayway Refinery,” he grew up in a large, extended Polish family (“my mother was one of 12”). He did all right in high school, graduating in the top 25 percent of his class of 400, but admits that he “probably couldn’t get into Rutgers today.” [Read more...]