Mark your calendars for a "parade of parasitoids!" The Bohart Museum of Entomology at the...
Just in time for Halloween! The orange and black Harlequin beetles will be displayed at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Oct. 19. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Major fires are sometimes caused by utilities, but there are many other potential causes, including lightning, arson and sparks from dragging chains. All of these factors, are compounded by "lack of fuel management, poor land-use planning, and homes that aren't ready for fire and aren't resilient to fire," Quinn-Davidson said.
Power outages can complicate response and evacuation efforts should a fire break out, Quinn-Davidson said. Phone lines have been jammed during this week's outages and people have had trouble communicating with loved ones.
“If a fire starts because of other causes — which could easily happen under severe conditions — now we have no way to communicate,” she told the TIME reporter. “Seriously, like, if this power outage happened when the Carr Fire (sparked by a vehicle) happened — how would you evacuate people? That's completely possible. You could have a power outage and have a fire start from a roadside cigarette. Or arson. Or anything. And then what?”
The TIME article also quoted Jeffrey Stackhouse, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, about the sweeping power outages.
“People are freaking out around here,” he said.
Nevertheless, Stackhouse and Quinn-Davidson agree that scheduled power outages shouldn't be eliminated as a tool for preventing fires. They believe outages should be used sparingly, and in conjunction with preventative measures, such as fire-proofing homes and managing land.
“The disruption is pretty huge for something we're not sure is going to prevent a major wildfire. The actual likelihood of that event was not equal to the impact that this is having,” Quinn-Davidson said.
Read about Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse's efforts to improve fire resilience in Humboldt County by establishing a prescribed burn association.
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have for the first time grown the bacteria in a laboratory that causes Citrus Greening Disease, considered the world's most harmful citrus disease.
Being able to grow the elusive and poorly understood bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), will make it easier for researchers to find treatments for the disease that has destroyed millions of acres of orange, grapefruit and lemon groves around the world and has devastated the citrus industry in Florida.
The researchers, including Phuc Ha, postdoctoral research associate, Haluk Beyenal, Paul Hohenschuh Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, David Gang and Ruifeng He, from WSU's Institute of Biological Chemistry, Anders Omsland, from the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, and researchers from the University of Florida and University of Arizona, report on their work in the journal, Biofilm.
WSU was selected three years ago for a $2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study the bacteria, in part, because Washington has no citrus industry. The disease, formally known as Huánglóngbìng, (HLB), is spread by Asian citrus psyllids insects. It attacks the vascular system of citrus trees and causes fruit to become green, misshapen, and bitter-tasting.
A critical step in coming up with weapons to fight the disease is being able to study it in the lab, but the CLas bacterium is notoriously difficult to grow. With a small genome, CLas is thought to depend on very specific nutrient availability and possibly compounds secreted by other nearby bacteria. When researchers used a traditional rich media that they typically use for growing bacteria, they mostly grew bacteria other than CLas.
So, in order to conduct research, scientists have had to get bacterial samples directly from the trees themselves or from the insects that spread it, which is time-consuming and cumbersome. Trying to conduct experiments has also been difficult because, unlike neat lab cultures, bacterial samples gathered from a sick tree vary, depending on where and when the sample is gathered and the level of infection.
Without being able to grow the bacteria in a lab, researchers have been unable to even absolutely confirm that the bacteria, in fact, causes the disease.
In their paper, the researchers for the first time successfully established and maintained CLas bacterial cultures outside of its host.
Using infected citrus tissue as their starting point, the researchers developed a biofilm, a kind of bacterial city that allows a variety of bacteria to thrive. Instead of a rich growth medium that would crowd out the CLas, the researchers severely limited the growth of partner bacteria and created a medium with the specific nutrients, acidity, incubation temperatures, and oxygen levels that are optimal for CLas.
The CLas thrived – an important first step.
“We were really excited,” said Beyenal, “but then we wondered if we could re-grow it.”
The researchers were able to transfer the orange-colored culture and grow new cultures in their biofilm reactors, which they have maintained for more than two years.
“We can do this for as long as we want,” said Beyenal.
Beyenal's group is now working to purify the culture, which will further help researchers to study it. They are also developing genetic-based methods to understand and mitigate the spread of the disease.
- Haluk Beyenal, Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor, Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, 509-335-6607, email@example.com.
- David Gang, Professor, Institute of Biological Chemistry, 509-335-0550, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095, email@example.com
Photo: Phuc Ha and Haluk Beyenal examine a bacterial culture in the laboratory./h2>
hlb culture lab
It's a fair. It's a party. It's a pollinator party. It's the Bay Area Bee Fair in Berkeley. And...
Black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, nectaring on nectarine blossoms. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, nectaring on Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A black-tailed bee, Bombus californicus, nectaring on blanket flower, Gaillardia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, and honey bee, Apis mellifera, sharing a purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Yes, he began his career studying honey bees. The late Robbin Thorp, the renowned UC Davis...
A honey bee packing pollen and nectaring on an almond blossom at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
In his retirement, Robbin Thorp co-authored two books, "Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide" and "California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp (left), legendary authority on bees, shows UC Davis alumnus Alex Wild the "Miss Bee Haven" sculpture in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden on Bee Biology Road. Wild, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis, is the curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin. This image was taken in 2008. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)