Under the Microscope

Thursdays at 4:45 p.m.

KBIA's weekly look at science, technology, and health in Missouri and beyond. Find us on iTunes

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Logan Layden / Harvest Public Media

Generations of tilling and planting on the same land have left the nation’s soil in poor shape. And if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, feeding the future won’t be easy.

As farmer Jordan Shearer from Slapout, Okla., puts it, “we’re creating a desert environment by plowing the damn ground."


Missouri Department of Conservation

Researchers from the University of Missouri are working with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a five-year study of white-tailed deer in the state. The study's goal is to find the survival differences of deer living in north east counties compared to south central counties.

The team of researchers are tracking the movements of deer using GPS collars in Nodaway, Gentry, Andrew, DeKalb, Wright, Texas, Douglas and Howell counties. Once the study is over, the Department of Conservation will use the data to reevaluate deer population management through strategies like hunting.

KBIA's Michaela Tucker spoke with Jon McRoberts, the project coordinator and wildlife researcher at the University of Missouri, about the progress of the study as it approaches the end of its first year.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and agriculture officials are gearing up for another round of bird flu this fall, an outbreak they fear could be worse than the devastating spring crisis that hit turkeys and egg-laying hens in the Midwest, wiped out entire farms and sent egg prices sky-high.

The potential target of the highly pathogenic avian flu this fall could be broilers, or meat chickens, as the outbreaks have been triggered and carried by wild birds, which will be flying south in great numbers this fall through several U.S. flyways.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

One Saturday afternoon at a backyard cookout, St. Louis architect Dan Rosenberg enjoyed a cheeseburger – a food he’d enjoyed many times before.

That night, a couple hours after he went to sleep, he woke up with a searing pain in his stomach.

“Let’s be clear here,” Rosenberg says, “this was like a nine on the ten-scale.”

OpenFile Vancouver / Flickr

A year ago Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed HB 2040 into law, allowing law enforcement officers and certified firefighters to carry and administer naloxone, the opiate overdose antidote.

Naloxone, or Narcan as it’s sometimes called, instantly reverses an overdose. And while the law has been in an effect for over a year, Missouri law enforcement agencies have not begun to use the drug.

Emily Guerin / Inside Energy

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it’s an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA says that by June 1 it will propose new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.


Provided by the University of Missouri Extension

McDonald County, Missouri, is home to many immigrant groups that have moved into the county in the last twenty years. These groups include Hispanic, Somali, Burmese, Sudanese and numerous others. And while these groups do not overlap culturally, they do share one thing - language acts as a barrier to access when it comes to their health.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Pippa Hull sits on her mother’s lap across the kitchen table in their Parkville home. She is an outgoing and talkative seven-year-old girl, who just happens to have a rare and severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Pippa’s mother, Megan, said this form of epilepsy is characterized by its lack of response to treatments.

Hull said they have tried different medications, they have had a VNS or Vagus Nerve Stimulation device implanted in Pippa’s chest, and they have even tried a special diet to try and reduce the number of seizures Pippa experiences.

Drone above a field
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

On this week's edition of Under the Microscope, we'll be taking a look at the new drone flight regulations proposed by  The Federal Aviation Administration. While the rules may limit some commercial potential for drones to be used in package delivery and pipeline inspection, many other industries are finding the new technology to be extremely lucrative, especially agricultural ones.  Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon explores how the potential guidelines could "usher in a new era of farm machinery."

Conservation agents finish up overseeding a plot at the Prairie Fork Conservation Area outside of Williamsburg, Missouri.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Landscape diversity in Missouri has changed since its settlement in the 18th century. Where there was once prairies, forests and savannahs, in many cases there are now towns, cities and farms.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is working to remedy this problem by restoring prairies to “pre-settlement standards.” These standards include no non-native plant species and plants from within a 50 mile radius of the prairie.

CraneStation / Flickr

  On this week's Under the Microscope, scientists have noticed a change in the atmosphere.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

  On this week's Under the Microscope, farmed fish may soon have a certified organic alternative. 

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  Hemp is grown throughout the world for its oil and fiber, which show up in everything from beauty products to rope.

Outer space
Sweetie187 / Flickr

  What if we could design a camera that could take a hundred billion pictures a second ― enough to record the fastest phenomena in the universe.

dnl777 / Flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, pesticides are causing a problem for bees. 

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

  On this week's Under the Microscope, traffic jams caused by a large harvest. 

videocrab / Flickr

  On this week's Under the Microscope, how watching a movie affects your brain and seeds that have been passed down through generations. 

File / KBIA

On this week's Under the Microscope, water quality in Missouri does not meet federal regulations, a lawsuit over eggs between Missouri and California, and plant seeds kept in a mountain in case of a catastrophic event. 

University of Missouri Health Care

On this week's Under the Microscope, we look at a UV light emitting, germ-killing robot and the art of wool-making. 

Outer space
Sweetie187 / Flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, we take a look at the junk we have left in space and a record-breaking harvest of corn and soybeans. 

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking at The Farm Bill, a lawsuit regarding restrictions on cages for egg-laying hens, and labels on genetically modified foods. 

Amylovesyah / Flickr


MU's School of Veterinary Medicine is in the research phase with bacteria and molecules that could change the treatment of cancer. 

Amylovesyah / Flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking into cancer research and a new hunting technology. 

dishfunctional / Flickr

You may need a camo case for your smart phone now. Last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation released a hunting app. It lets hunters report their yield right from their phone. 

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

  On this week's Under the Microscope, Missouri is one of ten states at risk for sinkholes. 

Sudipto_Sarkar / flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, Springfield schools implement local foods in kids lunches and research from Washington University is shedding light on schizophrenia.

Michael Cote / flickr

A respiratory illness is sending hundreds of kids to hospitals in ten states, including Missouri.  

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

  Welcome to Under the Microscope, KBIA's weekly at stories in science, health and technology. I'm Maureen Lewis-Stump


  Columbia's sewer system is aging and deteriorating. The city council took steps to address the problem, but not without controversy.