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In an effort to streamline news content, the K-State News Blog will no longer be updated. Please visit the media page on Kansas State University’s website for the latest research, news and all things K-State.

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-K-State News and Editorial Services

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Aphrodisiacs: Nutrition – not love – at first bite

Oysters are believed to be a food aphrodisiac that can boost your love life.

It’s been said that food is the language of love. If so, can certain foods — or aphrodisiacs — promote romantic feelings or sexual desire?

Probably not, according to a Kansas State University nutrition expert and registered dietitian.

Linda Yarrow, assistant professor of human nutrition in the university’s College of Human Ecology, says the Food and Drug Administration has long maintained that there is no scientific support for claims that food aphrodisiacs can boost sexual desire.

“The aphrodisiac effects of certain foods seem to be based on placebo effect more than anything,” Yarrow said.

But while aphrodisiacs may not boost your love life, some of them have a lot to love from a nutritional standpoint, Yarrow said. Read those at

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A discovery that sizzles

Beef-lovers will soon have a tasty way to stock up on omega-3s.

Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry, developed a technique that enriches ground beef with omega-3 fatty acids — fatty acids that have been shown to reduce heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and plant oils. The U.S. currently does not have a recommended daily intake of omega-3s, though many doctors and nutritionists recommend between 1,200-1,600 milligrams daily, depending on a person’s age and health.

A quarter-pound hamburger made of the enriched ground beef has 200 milligrams of omega-3s and tastes the same as regular ground beef, Drouillard said. This makes the ground beef an alternative for people who want to add or increase their omega-3 fatty acids intake but do not want fish or supplements to do so.

The enriched ground beef is named GreatO Premium Ground Beef and is being sold through Manhattan, Kan.-based company NBO3 Technologies LLC. It will be available mid-February at select retailers in Buffalo, N.Y., and expand to leading retailers and restaurants nationwide later this year.

Find out more at

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University installs electric vehicle charging station

An electric vehicle being charged.

Parking services has installed an electric vehicle charging station in the parking garage of Kansas State University.

Drivers of electric vehicles can plug in and charge their vehicles.

The charging station is located immediately behind the parking services office near the west entrance of the parking garage at 17th Street and Anderson Avenue. The space is reserved for electric vehicles and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Policy, enforcement may stop employees from wasting time online at work, researcher finds

Joseph Ugrin, assistant professor of accounting at Kansas State University, and John Pearson, associate professor of management at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, studied cyberloafing — wasting time at work on the Internet — and the effects of Internet use policies and punishment on reducing cyberloafing.

Cyberloafing results in lost productivity and could put companies in legal trouble when workers conduct illegal activity or unacceptable behavior like viewing pornography on work computers. Between 60 and 80 percent of people’s time on the Internet at work has nothing to do with work.

The researchers, who surveyed office workers and university students, found that both older and younger workers find ways to waste time on the Internet — but in different ways. Older people tend to do things like manage their finances, while young people spend time on social networking sites.

Researchers discovered that the only way to change people’s attitudes is to provide them with information about other employees who were reprimanded.

The study will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

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Anthropologist studies spirituality in virtual reality

Buddhism in Second Life.

Jessica Falcone, assistant professor of sociology, anthropology and social work at Kansas State University, is studying how religion — particularly Buddhism — fits into new forms of virtual reality.

For one project, Falcone is studying Buddhism and Buddhist holy objects in Second Life, an online virtual world. She is looking at why some users developed avatars that can participate in religious events, such as group meditation sessions in virtual temples. One reason may be that organizing meetings in the virtual world is more accessible than the real world.

Falcone noted that other religions — including Christianity, Sikhism and Islam — are experiencing virtual communities on Second Life, and other groups and organizations also are creating virtual communities. For example, universities can create classrooms on Second Life and avatars can attend classes. Businesses have created virtual meeting places for employees.

Falcone studies South Asian cultures and religions, particularly Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. Several of her current research projects focus on Buddhist communities, particularly the growing presence of Buddhism in the world of virtual reality.


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Student researcher wins grant to study plant disease and how to stop it

A drawing of what thrips look like.

Ismael E. Badillo-Vargas, a plant pathology doctoral student, Puerto Rico, recently was awarded a predoctoral fellowship grant of more than $71,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The competitive fellowship advances his research on the tomato spotted wilt virus and its relationship to thrips — tiny, winged insects that carry and spread the plant disease.

Tomato spotted wilt virus is one of the 10 most devastating plant viruses, according to the USDA. The virus, which kills a variety of food-producing plants, causes about $100 million in U.S. crop losses and roughly $1 billion in global crop losses every year.

The virus is transmitted to plants by the western flower thrips. The virus, however, does not harm the thrips that carry it and replicate the virus. Badillo-Vargas wants to understand why. 


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University inks partnership with Presidential Library

Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kansas State University is bolstering its research opportunities under a partnership with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kan.

U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero and Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz signed a formal agreement at the university’s Hale Library Tuesday, Jan. 22. The agreement is designed to create student internships, scholarly conferences, public lectures, exhibits and the joint development of classroom curriculum.

The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum will share its textual and audiovisual archives and artifacts collections with the university that will advance teaching, research and scholarship in areas relevant to both institutions, including the military and leadership.

Raised in Abilene, Eisenhower was the 34th U.S. president from 1953 to 1961. The two-term president was a five-star general in the Army during World War II. During his presidency, Eisenhower oversaw the creation of the nation’s interstate system, NASA and the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

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Winter 2013 research magazine now available

The winter 2013 issue of Perspectives — Kansas State University’s research magazine — is now available online at

The issue focuses on some of the researchers who are making clean air, clean water and clean energy possible.

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Immunology research sheds new light on cell function, response

E. coli O157:H7

A Kansas State University-led study has uncovered new information that helps scientists better understand the complex workings of cells in the innate immune system. The findings may also lead to new avenues in disease control and prevention.

Philip Hardwidge, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, was the study’s principal investigator. He and colleagues looked at the relationship between a bacterial protein and the innate immune system — a system of defensive cells that responds rapidly to an infection in a nonspecific manner.

Among their findings, the researchers characterized a new protein that affects how cells in the innate immune system function and protect humans against invading bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.

The study, “NleB, a Bacterial Effector with Glycosyltransferase Activity, Targets GAPDH Function to Inhibit NF-kappaB Activation,” was published in the most recent issue of the scientific journal Cell Host and Microbe. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded the study.

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