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Purdue Extension exhibitions at Indiana State Fair feature info on microorganisms, community development

August 1, 2019
Picture of animated microorganisms.

Purdue Extension continues the tradition of sharing educational interactive exhibitions for all ages at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 2-18.

The first stop in the Agriculture Horticulture Building is to meet the mighty microbes and find out how they help save the world through bioprocesses. The exhibition seeks to educate a wide range of ages about microorganisms in the three areas of food, pharmacy and renewability.

“Microorganisms can be used for the production of many things such as foods, pharmaceutical products and biofuels. We hope visitors will realize that not all microbes are ‘bad’ and will become more aware of the variety of applications that microorganisms can be used for,” said Fernanda San Martin-Gonzalez, associate professor of food science at Purdue University.

The interactive exhibition explains what microorganisms are and how they can create various bioproducts through bioprocessing. The brewing process is highlighted as a bioprocess because it is one of the best understood fermentation processes and many other bioprocesses resemble it.  

“Educating kids about the usefulness of microbes will, hopefully, stimulate their curiosity and make them interested in science careers,” continued Gonzalez.

Visitors will also learn about Purdue Extension’s outreach efforts in community development and rural broadband and a series of programs designed to address Indiana’s opioid and substance abuse crisis, including launching a mental health first aid course.  Purdue Extension’s 4-H program is also featured in the exhibitions, showcasing programs such as computer programming and community service.

“Purdue Extension continues to be a resource for communities in Indiana who are facing new challenges daily and we hope to continue that conversation at the fair through these exhibits,” said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of Purdue College of Agriculture.

Also included in the Purdue Extension exhibition area is the Pixel Play Arcade, featuring eight of the best educational games developed by Purdue Agricultural Communications covering a range of topics from wildlife conservation to everyday health including:

* Hot Plate, which teaches about nutritional health.

* Don't Be a Zombie, which shows how to prepare for emergency situations.

* Hellbender Havoc, which teaches about the hellbender, an aquatic salamander that is an endangered species.

An exhibition featuring major events in Purdue Agriculture’s history celebrates the past 150 years of giant leaps.

Other events during the fair include:

* The annual Purdue Extension discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August crop production report will be at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Farm Bureau Building Ballroom.

* At 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day from Aug. 2-18, Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine will present animal surgery demonstrations and interactive displays in a tent on the north side of the fairgrounds near the Farm Bureau Building. In addition to being able to see live surgeries, other presentations offered during the fair include sessions on dog physical therapy, dairy calves and veterinary dentistry. The tent also houses the Indiana State Fair Vet Camp. For the sixth consecutive year, Purdue vet med faculty and students will be providing veterinary care for all of the fair’s exhibition animals, including most of the 4-H animals, under the coordination of Dr. Jonathan Townsend, clinical assistant professor of dairy production medicine and Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s director of Extension.

The Indiana State Fairgrounds is located at 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis. Purdue Extension exhibitions are located in the Purdue Extension Ag/Hort Building, located on the west side of the fairgrounds near the midway.

For media requests, please contact Abby Leeds, mayer36@purdue.edu or 765-494-7817. 

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