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Animal Sciences

Fall 2017

Till gone

“Life can multiply until all the phosphorus is gone, and then there is an inexorable halt which nothing can prevent. We may be able to substitute nuclear power for coal, plastics for wood, yeast for meat, and friendliness for isolation—but for phosphorus there is neither substitute nor replacement.”

—Isaac Asimov

The Greeks called phosphorus “the bearer of light,” a chalky white mineral that ignites spontaneously and gives pizazz to matchsticks and fireworks. Theories suggest it even arrived on Earth in a fiery meteorite crash billions of years ago.

The fifteenth element could also be called the bearer of life. Wound into DNA … » More …

Talk Back
Summer 2017

Talkback for Summer 2017

 

Waste not

I enjoyed reading “Waste Not” in the Spring ’17 issue of Washington State Magazine. I learned a lot and was especially intrigued by the part about microwave sterilization and preservation.

I thought I would clarify to readers that, while composting food waste still releases greenhouse gasses, if treated properly with balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, aeration, and moisture, decaying food waste favors carbon dioxide and releases less methane than that same material would in a landfill, where moisture, aeration, and the rot recipe are far from optimal. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Animal husbandry is the missing … » More …

Winter 2016

Wagyu

Seattle chef Thomas Dodd’s customers demand the best, so the only steak on the menu is marbled, tender, and flavorful American wagyu.

He sees orders climb each week for the breed developed largely from Washington State University research to help Northwest ranchers compete with Japan’s famed Kobe beef and other specialty brands.

“When people were tasting it for the first time, they were kind of freaking out over how flavorful it is, saying things like it’s the best steak they’d ever had,” says Dodd, executive chef at Liam’s. “Now we’re starting to see this expectation because people know … or have heard about American wagyu.”

» More …

Fall 2016

Fat furnace

Body fat has gotten a bad rap in recent years. It’s understandable given that 70 percent of American adults are reportedly overweight or obese, costing $190 billion per year in related medical bills. But new research shows not all fat is created equal.

Washington State University professor of animal sciences Min Du says our bodies are equipped with both good and bad types of fat that naturally work together to balance weight and metabolism. The process—along with a little help from diet and exercise— involves an intricate interplay between white, beige, and brown fat—or adipose tissue.

“When most people think of body fat, they’re … » More …

Wagyu cattle. Courtesy Jerry Reeves
Spring 2016

Fine beef

It was a beautiful sunny day in May when six WSU chefs, decked out in their white uniforms, stood on a hillside 1500 feet above the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, squinting to make out cows grazing on the steep terrain across the valley. Looking like little black dots on the massive hills, Jerry Reeves looked through his binoculars, suddenly pointing and exclaiming, “There they are! Can you see them?”

A retired WSU animal sciences professor, Reeves was giving the chefs, four from Dining Services and two from WSU’s School of Hospitality, a tour of his ranch and pastureland located less than an … » More …

Ferdinands
Summer 2014

The scoop on Ferdinand’s murals

Visible clouds of breath hang about as we all look upon what remains of the original murals of the Ferdinand’s ice cream shop once located in the now deserted Troy Hall.

The first home of the dairy department, Troy is in the middle of campus and in poor condition. Roped off for safety, this 1920s brick structure has been on the University’s capital planning list for renovation for a few years now. It is currently in the design stage of what is expected to be a $40 million renovation so that it can be a suitable home for environmental sciences and chemistry.

As rotting … » More …