Mistletoe - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Hanging mistletoe over the doorway is a tradition associated with Christmas around the world. Well, this hemi-parasitic plant dates back much farther than Christianity and Christmas. Photo by Stephanie Berghaeuser.

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Poinsettia - The Myth That Will Not Die

The poinsettia, a native of Mexico, is a much-maligned plant.  Every holiday there are those who will warn that the poinsettia is highly toxic.  It's a reputation that isn't deserved, and one that this colorful, Christmas plant can't shake. Photo by D. Pfleiderer

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Holiday Weight Gain is Slight, But May Last a Lifetime

The feasting season is full of calorie rich goodies like eggnog, cakes, cookies, pies and candy.  With all these delicious tidbits within reach it's easy to believe that we add a lot of pounds during the winter holidays.  Well, there's good news, and there's bad news. Photo by Mike Lorenzo

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Use It or Lose It - Strength Training Vital for Healthy Aging

It's said that aging is not for the faint of heart. It's also not great for couch potatoes. To avoid becoming weak and frail as you age, you need to break out the weights and put your muscles to work. Photo by: Roger Meissen

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MU Food Scientists Develop Faster, More Accurate Test for Salmonella

In early November, there was a recall of 290,000 eggs from an Ohio facility because of Salmonella contamination. Food producers and suppliers willingly perform recalls, but a recall is a business nightmare because it damages a company's reputation and causes serious fiscal injury.  For this reason, a quick and accurate test for Salmonella is vital.  Now, a University of Missouri researcher has created a Salmonella test that is both fast and precise.

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Learning How Plants Protect Themselves from Disease

Just like weapons escalation between warring nations, plants and disease organisms are in a continuous battle. The winner thrives, the loser struggles. Plants have an innate immune system that responds to disease by creating resistance proteins. You can think of them as little soldiers that march in to prevent disease from causing damage. Sometimes, however, a plant's immune system can overreact.  Thanks to a University of Missouri researcher, we are one step closer to understanding how plants regulate their immune system.
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Strong Farm Prices are Translating into Increased Farm Equipment Sales

While the U.S. economy continues to struggle there is one bright spot, farm commodity prices are booming. This, in turn, means a jump in farm equipment sales. Just like any good CEO, farmers are taking record profits and re-investing in their business. Photo by Igor Spanholi

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Pumpkin - Not Just for Halloween

While pumpkins are typically associated with Halloween, they are a healthy choice even after the trick-or-treat holiday.

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Use Halloween to Teach Children about Moderation and Healthy Choices

The doorbell rings. Ghosties and Goulies shout, "trick or treat" as you open the door.  Even though candy is the typical bounty given to appease Halloween tricksters, there are other options that can also delight children.

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Bats - Victims of Poor PR

It's difficult to think of Halloween without thinking of the classical monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. Unfortunately, thanks to the good ol' Count, we have the wrong impression of bats.

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Autumn Colors - A Biochemical Symphony

Bright reds and purples are the hallmark of a stunning fall color display. While on the surface, trees my appear quiet and stationary, at the chemical level, there's a lot going on right now.
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Healthier Soybean Oil on the Horizon

Soybean cropped In the not too distant future …trans fat in processed food could go the way of the dodo bird. Researchers with the USDA and the University of Missouri have bred a new soybean with health traits akin to olive oil.

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Backyard Bird Diverstiy Requires Green Corridors

Photo by Kurt Roehlke; Photo editing by Roger Meissen
Human activities like agriculture, rural development and urbanization can create islands of green areas surrounded by cropland, pastures or pavement. This isolates birds and mammals, eventually causing their downfall.  By understanding how wildlife use forest corridors, agriculture, rural areas and cities can continue to grow while maintaining healthy animal populations for future generations.

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When Temperatures Climb Your Body Needs More Water

Photo by Gokhan Okur
Soaring summer temperatures and high humidity means your body will need more fluids to keep it working properly, to maintain a healthy body temperature, and to avoid feeling fatigued.

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Synthetic Turf on Playing Fields Carries Hidden Dangers

During the hot, humid days of summer, playing fields covered with synthetic turf can bring unseen dangers.

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Brown Patches in Your Lawn Could be a Fungal Disease, Not a Lack of Water

You're out in your yard and you notice several patches of brown grass in your lawn.  Your first impulse may be to grab the garden hose and douse the area with water.  But, instead of helping, you could be making things much worse.

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Exercise Safely in the Summer Heat

Photo By Ana Fernandez
Hot, humid days can put you at risk if you're working or playing outdoors.

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Hot and Wet Summer - Watch Out for Mold and Mildew

Some areas in the U.S. have seen a lot of rain this summer. Add warm temperatures to moisture and you have the perfect environment for mold and mildew.  For people with allergies, mold can be life-threatening. However, even if you don't suffer from allergies, mold can cause headaches and make you feel generally uncomfortable.

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Attack of the Bed Bugs

They come out at night to suck your blood.  No, I'm not referring to Van Helsing's foe. I'm talking about bed bugs, brown, flat fly-sized parasites that wait until your sleeping to feed on you. Their numbers are rapidly growing out of control. In cities like New York, Columbus and Toronto these creepy-crawlies have shut down clothing stores, libraries, movie theaters and even dentist offices.  After nearly eliminating them in the 60s, bed bugs are back with a vengeance. 
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Dung Beetles - Nature's Clean-up Crew

There are about 7000 species of dung beetles in the world.  They're divided into three groups: Rollers, Tunnellers and Dwellers.  While it might be unpleasant to think about what they eat, dung beetles are very vital insect recyclers. Photo by Rafael Brix

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Black Spot on Roses

Black spot is a fungal disease that can destroy a rose bush.  When it's hot and humid, black spot is easy to catch, spreads quickly, and is very difficult to get rid of.

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Hot Peppers - Culinary Fire

Chili peppers have been eaten in the Americas since at least 7500 BC. Christopher Columbus was the first to call them "peppers." In India, hot peppers are used to ward off evil. Jalapenos, cayenne and habanero are just a few of the varieties of hot peppers available for the hot-and-spicy connoisseur.  Photo by Miguel Saavedra

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Tips on Watering Your Lawn

For your lawn to be healthy, you must make sure it's not getting too much, or too little water. Photo by Debbie Mous

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June Sets Over Half Century Temperature Record

If you thought June was hot and muggy, you were spot-on. Temperatures in the Midwest set records. Photo by Vaughn Willis


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Damaging Japanese Beetle Population on the Rise in the Midwest

The Japanese beetle invasion is underway. Any plant that we find fragrant and pretty,will be a dinner bell for this voracious beetle.  In large numbers, they can strip a plant of its leaves in no time. Photo by: D. Gordon E. Robertson

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Time to Dust-Off Your Lightning Know-How

Summer is the peak season for one of nature's deadliest phenomenon...lightning. The National Weather Service has set aside June 20th through the 26th as Lightning Safety Awareness Week. This is the perfect time to make sure your lightning know-how is up-to- date to avoid becoming a statistic.  Photo by Manu Mohan
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Soil Aeration Can Improve the Health of Your Lawn

Good garden soil is a combination of fertility and texture.  The best soil structure is full of open pores.  When soil becomes compacted, these open spaces disappear, leaving very little space for air and water to reach plant roots.  Aerating the soil can help correct this problem. Photo by Constantin Jurcut  

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Obesity in Dogs and Cats

It can be very tempting to toss a table scrap to a begging pet. But encouraging this behavior can cause more harm than good. It can lead to obesity...the most common nutritional disorder of pets in the United States. Photo by Jonathon Monk

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Controlling Burrowing Moles

Moles, those burrowing animals that cause multiple problems for homeowners and farmers, require constant vigilance to keep them under control.

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Wood Ash Can be Added to Your Garden to Improve pH

Want a great way to re-purpose the ashes from your wood stove or fireplace?  Add them to your garden.

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Tip Burn - An Unsightly Problem in Houseplants

Tip burn is a common problem in houseplants where the tips of leaves turn brown and die. You might be surprised by what causes it.

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Tips on Keeping Safe During Tornado Season

The arrival of spring signals the beginning of severe weather season. Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms.  Their force can devastate a neighborhood in seconds. So, the best way to protect yourself, and your family, from these destructive, unpredictable storms is to be prepared.

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Desktop Dining - Not Necessarily the Best Way to Have a Healthy Lunch

Thousands of Americans do it everyday. What? Eat lunch at their desk. But is it a safe and healthy way to have your midday meal? Photo by Adriana Cal

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Bananas - A Nutrition Powerhouse in One Small Package

What's yellow, sweet, full of good-for-you nutrients, and the most popular fruit in the U.S....bananas. They're so popular that, on average, every American eats about 28-pounds of bananas each year. Photo by Stephen Davies

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Landscaping is a Good Investment

You might think that landscaping your home will just make it look pretty, but it can actually save you money and increase the value of your home.

The Secret to a Green Thumb - Soil Testing

Knowing the nutrient content and pH of your soil is the key to gardening success.  You can't just look at your soil and know what it needs. You have to have it tested.

A Hot Meal for Your Family is As Easy as Dusting off the Crock Pot

Most households have a crock pot, but rarely use them for more than nacho dip or chili. Well, a crock pot is a great way for your family to enjoy wonderful meals all year round.  But, successful cooking in a crock pot takes a special knack.