USDA

New ARS Bee Genebank Will Preserve Genetic Diversity and Provide Breeding Resources

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 06:15
New ARS Bee Genebank Will Preserve Genetic Diversity and Provide Breeding Resources / January 26, 2016 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Semen being collected from a honey bee with a capillary tube. Link to photo information
Semen collected from honey bees and cryopreserved (frozen) will form the basis of a new national bee genebank. Click the image for more information about it.


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New ARS Bee Genebank Will Preserve Genetic Diversity and Provide Breeding Resources

By Kim Kaplan
January 26, 2016

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is organizing a national bee genebank as part of the agency's response to ongoing problems facing the country's beekeepers. Average losses of managed honey bee colonies have increased to more than 30 percent per year due to pathogens, pests, parasites, and other pressures including deficient nutrition and sublethal impacts of pesticides. These stresses have threatened the continued business sustainability of commercial beekeepers.

The genebank, which will be located in Fort Collins, Colorado, will help preserve the genetic diversity of honey bees, especially for traits such as resistance to pests or diseases and pollination efficiency. It will also provide ARS and other researchers access to resources from which to breed better bees, according to entomologist Robert Danka, with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Danka is helping shape the bee genebank—the Russian honey bee and Varroa Sensitive Hygiene lines developed at the Baton Rouge lab will be among those conserved first.

To help make the genebank a practical reality, ARS researchers are developing better long-term storage techniques for honey bees, including improving cryopreservation of bee sperm and embryos. Their work will include creating a way to reliably revive frozen embryos and grow them into reproductively viable adults after storage.

Another component needed to create the new genebank is a germplasm species committee, which will decide which species and subspecies to collect and preserve. ARS and Washington State University are working with beekeepers on the next steps for the committee.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about the new genebank in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Antimicrobial Wash Reduces Health Risks in Fresh Produce

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 07:00
Antimicrobial Wash Reduces Health Risks in Fresh Produce / January 20, 2016 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

Carrots, apples, melons and salad greens surrounding a bowl of salad.  Link to photo information
ARS developed a new organic antimicrobial wash for fresh produce. Click the image for more information about it.


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Antimicrobial Wash Reduces Health Risks in Fresh Produce

By Dennis O'Brien
January 20, 2016

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, and his collaborators have developed an antimicrobial wash that reduces the risk of foodborne pathogens contaminating fresh produce.

Joshua Gurtler and scientists at NatureSeal Inc. have found that a combination of lactic acid, fruit acids, and hydrogen peroxide can be used in a produce rinse for commercial food distributors. NatureSeal, based in Westport, Connecticut, already markets an anti-browning wash developed by another ARS team in the 1990's for sliced apples and 18 other types of produce.

E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens sicken approximately 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) each year. A recent U.S. outbreak of Salmonella associated with cucumbers sickened over 765 people in 36 states and killed 4.

First Step+ 10 is designed to reduce those numbers, and is expected to be used in the commercial flumes and rinse tanks that wash fresh produce, Gurtler says. The ingredients are all classified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The wash also has been approved for use in Canada; is U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic; is biodegradable; and does not affect the taste, texture, smell, or appearance of produce.

To save water, some food processors reuse wash water, a practice that can contaminate produce in subsequent washes. Along with reducing the risk of contamination, the new rinse will cut back on waste water because processors won't have to replace water in their tanks as frequently.

To test First Step+ 10, Gurtler inoculated fresh cut apples, baby spinach, cantaloupe rind, and cherry tomatoes with highly resistant outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, and Salmonella. He soaked them in the wash for 5 minutes and then measured pathogen levels in the wash water and on the produce. The antimicrobial wash reduced pathogen levels on the produce by 99.99 percent. It also rid the wash water of 100 percent of pathogens, making it safer to reuse.

Along with securing FDA approval, Gurtler and his collaborators at NatureSeal have filed a patent application and presented findings at scientific meetings.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this work in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Bringing Up Biofuel

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 01/14/2016 - 04:18
Bringing Up Biofuel / January 14, 2016 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

A mobile pyrolysis system. Link to photo information
ARS scientists are testing this mobile pyrolysis system for on-farm production of bio-oil from agricultural waste. Click the image for more information about it.


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Bringing Up Biofuel

By Rosalie Bliss
January 14, 2016

The idea of replacing fossil-based fuel with a renewable source of sustainable energy is enough to get any environmentalist excited. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have advanced a process to produce a crude liquid called “bio-oil” from agricultural waste. The team is headed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng with the Sustainable Biofuels and Coproducts Unit at the Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.

Crude bio-oil is produced by pyrolysis—a process that chemically decomposes plant and other organic matter using very high heat. The modified technique, called "tail-gas reactive pyrolysis," or TGRP, holds promise for improving the bio-oil that is ultimately processed into finished biofuels.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates the United States produce at least 36 billion gallons of biofuels by the year 2022. This effort will require, in part, the development of a new industry to produce 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, which are based largely on non-food sources.

The raw biomass material includes non-food-grade plant matter procured from agricultural or household waste residue such as wood and switchgrass, and animal manures. Using these materials, bio-oils are produced at an accelerated rate using a new high-output mobile processing unit. Instead of shipping large amounts of agricultural waste to a refinery plant at high cost, the mobile reactor allows conversion of the biomass into energy-dense bio-oil right on the farm.

The goal of using TGRP on the farm is to yield a higher quality bio-oil that is more marketable to biofuel producers than bio-oil made from traditional pyrolysis methods. TGRP is an important step toward the ultimate goal of producing cleaner bio-oils that can be distilled at existing petroleum refineries.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this work in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Tackling Cattle Fever Ticks with Vaccines

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 07:51
Tackling Cattle Fever Ticks with Vaccines / January 12, 2016 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Cattle in a field. Link to photo information
ARS scientists are developing novel vaccines to help protect livestock against cattle ticks that hitchhike on wildlife, such as the white-tail deer, that cross the Rio Grande River into Texas. Click the image for more information about it.


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Tackling Cattle Fever Ticks with Vaccines

By Sandra Avant
January 12, 2016

Despite a successful program to eliminate cattle fever ticks during the first half of the 20th century, these ticks still manage to cross the Mexican border into Texas. A new vaccine developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) could control these pests and help prevent a reinfestation of cattle fever ticks in the United States. These ticks can transmit pathogens that cause bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis—diseases that can kill cattle.

While sequencing the cattle tick's genome, insect physiologist Felix D. Guerrero and his colleagues at the ARS Tick and Biting Fly Research Unit in Kerrville, Texas, identified several proteins that, when formulated as a cattle vaccine, could potentially kill cattle ticks. One of the proteins, aquaporin, was developed into a recombinant tick aquaporin protein vaccine.

ARS researchers collaborated with their partners at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) to test the vaccine's ability to protect cattle against infestation. In two trials, animals infested with a known amount of cattle tick larvae were divided into two pens in Brazil. In each trial, one group was vaccinated with the aquaporin vaccine, and the other group was not. When scientists compared the groups, they found that vaccinated cows had 75 percent and 68 percent fewer ticks than unvaccinated cows. Results indicated that the aquaporin protein was effective as an antigen in cattle vaccines to help prevent cattle fever tick infestations.

Although a few chemicals are available to treat cattle, ticks have developed resistance to most of them, according to Guerrero. The ARS-patented aquaporin protein vaccine provides an alternative to chemicals to reduce the risk of tick infestation. ARS is exploring the possibility of producing a commercial aquaporin vaccine with a private company.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Read more about this research in the January issue of AgResearch magazine.

Categories: USDA

Sodium Monitoring Key to Reducing Dietary Intakes

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 06:15
Sodium Monitoring Key to Reducing Dietary Intakes / January 6, 2016 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

A container of pretzels, crackers and sesame sticks. Link to photo information
A database of foods that contain sodium added during preparation helps public health officials track sodium-reduction efforts. Click the image for more information about it.

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Sodium Monitoring Key to Reducing Dietary Intakes

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
January 6, 2016

Over 90 percent of the U.S. population consumes more than the recommended daily maximum amount of sodium, most of which comes from commercially processed and restaurant foods. Reducing sodium in these foods is key to lowering the amount in the U.S. diet. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and collaborators have launched an online dataset of key foods that contain sodium added during preparation or processing, prior to purchase by consumers.

Researchers in USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) in Beltsville, Maryland, have been working on the project to monitor key high-sodium foods since 2010. Collaborators include the ARS Food Surveys Research Group, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The ARS laboratories are part of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center.

The foods being monitored serve as indicators for assessing changes over time in the sodium content of common sodium-contributing commercial foods, according to NDL nutritionist Jaspreet Ahuja, who heads the project at ARS. Foods included in the dataset are commonly reported as eaten by survey respondents during the national food-intake survey called "What We Eat in America." The nutrient content of the foods is tracked year-to-year and also at intervals using objective, nationwide sampling and laboratory analyses to gauge important nutrient content changes, including reformulations.

To establish a baseline, all foods in the database were sampled and chemically analyzed between 2010 and 2013. Researchers observed a wide range of sodium levels among foods studied. For example, among canned tomatoes, some had 4.5 times more sodium than others. Among foods categorized as savory snacks and crackers, plain tortilla chips had one-quarter the sodium of hard pretzels. Most of the foods sampled (88 percent) from fast-food outlets or restaurants exceeded the "healthy" FDA sodium limit.

Public health officials can use the information to track sodium reduction efforts, and consumers and health professionals can use the information to make educated food choices. The dataset is available on the NDL home page and may be found here.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency. Read more about this work in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

New Hope for Extending Fresh-cut Vegetable Storage

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 12/31/2015 - 06:54
New Hope for Extending Fresh-cut Vegetable Storage / December 31, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

ARS scientists evaluated different types of peppers for attributes that prolong the shelf life of fresh-cut peppers. Link to photo information
ARS scientists evaluated different types of peppers for attributes that prolong the shelf life of fresh-cut peppers. Click the image for more information about it.


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New Hope for Extending Fresh-cut Vegetable Storage

By Sharon Durham
December 31, 2015

Fresh-cut peppers and lettuces in supermarkets have a shot at lasting longer thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Beltsville, Maryland, and Salinas, California.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant geneticist John Stommel and his research team with the Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory, and food technologist Yaguang (Sunny) Luo with the Food Quality Laboratory, both in Beltsville, Maryland, evaluated a diverse collection of peppers for attributes that would prolong their shelf life after being cut.

The team looked at 50 types of peppers available commercially and from the ARS collection—sweet bell, large elongated peppers, jalapeno, and serrano—to find those that can stand up to prolonged cold storage. Fresh-cut sweet bell and elongated peppers exhibited signs of deterioration, such as fluid leakage, after 10 to 14 days of storage, whereas jalapeno and serrano peppers didn't lose fluids until 14 days of storage. Fluid leakage is undesirable as it causes peppers to lose firmness and marketability.

The team found that some varieties in each pepper type showed exceptional fluid maintenance beyond 14 days, meaning the peppers stayed firm and didn't exhibit tissue breakdown. The results provide opportunities for plant breeders, via traditional breeding, to incorporate attributes that contribute to fresh-cut quality into elite varieties that will benefit the food industry and consumers, according to Stommel.

The very action of cutting fresh produce results in damage to plant tissues, increases respiration, and shortens postharvest shelf life. The loss of fluid from tissues is closely related to the quality and shelf life of fresh-cut produce. Leakage is indicative of cell damage and is responsible for adverse changes in fresh-cut product color, texture, flavor and microbial growth.

Lettuces, the base of salads everywhere, are also targeted for improvement. Luo and plant geneticists Ryan Hayes and Ivan Simko at the ARS Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit in Salinas, California, found several genetic markers that will allow lettuce breeders to confer a longer shelf life to salad-cut lettuce. Lettuce with a gene that results in rapid decay becomes unusable in one to two weeks, according to Hayes. In contrast, lettuce with a slow decay gene lasted one month or longer.

The research results from these evaluation studies will facilitate development of improved varieties that greatly benefit growers, packers, processors and consumers.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this research in the December issue of AgResearch magazine.

Categories: USDA

A Better Understanding of Rangeland Health

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 07:17
A Better Understanding of Rangeland Health / December 30, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

Male sage grouse. Link to photo information
A male sage-grouse. Healthy, productive rangelands are critical to sage-grouse survival. Click the image for more information about it.

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A Better Understanding of Rangeland Health

By Dennis O'Brien
December 30, 2015

Rangelands are grazed by livestock, serve as habitat and food for wildlife and pollinators, and filter runoff to help keep waterways clean. However, invasive weeds, wildfires, droughts, mining, and other disturbances are degrading these important resources.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers are playing key roles in developing a better understanding of rangeland ecology and finding effective ways to restore them.

Matthew J. Rinella, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) rangeland management specialist in Miles City, Montana, and his colleagues reviewed restoration reports filed by mining companies on 169 former coal mining fields subjected to various restoration efforts between 1992 and 2009. They also quantified shrubs, which are a critical source of livestock forage and provide habitat for mule deer, pronghorn, elk, and the threatened greater sage-grouse.

The results, published in Ecological Applications (June 2015), showed that when grasses were sown at high rates, shrubs were rapidly choked out before they could become established. Sowing grasses at low rates allowed shrubs to persist and reach deep into soil layers, where they could access water and nutrients inaccessible to shallow-rooted grasses. The results also showed that grasses developed well in the long run whether their seeds, which can be expensive, were sown at high or low rates. The results could be useful to mining companies, oil and gas companies, and government agencies working to improve degraded rangelands.

Meanwhile, Philip A. Fay, an ARS research ecologist in Temple, Texas, and his colleagues applied nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium mixed with micronutrients to 42 sites in 8 countries on 5 continents. The sites, part of an established international "Nutrient Network" of rangelands, each received the same proportions of the nutrients at the start of each growing season. Researchers harvested the grass each year, calculated the amount of biomass produced, and after 5 years analyzed how the nutrients affected the productivity of native and cultivated grasses and forbs.

Researchers found that when nutrients were in short supply, productivity was limited at most of the sites. Adding multiple nutrients increased productivity by as much as 65 percent. Fay and his colleagues were also surprised to find that phosphorus and potassium were major factors in productivity on all five continents. The results, published in Nature Plants (July 2015), could lead to a better understanding of rangeland health and the potential effects of future changes.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this research in the December 2015 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Native Vine's Sap Eyed as Potential Gum Arabic Alternative

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 12/15/2015 - 07:40
Native Vine's Sap Eyed as Potential Gum Arabic Alternative / December 15, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 Link to photo information
The sap oozing from this debarked frost grape stem has scientists intrigued by its similarity to gum Arabic, an imported emulsifying and thickening agent. Click the image for more information about it.


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Native Vine's Sap Eyed as Potential Gum Arabic Alternative

By Jan Suszkiw
December 15, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers found a sap oozing from the stem of frost grape, a native U.S. grapevine, which has piqued their interest. This sap has an uncanny similarity to gum Arabic, a common thickening agent and emulsifier used in cake frosting, candies, paints, cosmetics and other products.

Gum Arabic is harvested commercially from wild acacia trees throughout the Sahara region of Africa, with more than 80 percent of commercial production centered in Sudan, according to Neil Price, a chemist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois. Gum Arabic, which is typically sold in powdered form, can be hard to come by, adds Price.

Domestic equivalents of gum Arabic have proven elusive—until possibly now. In the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Price, together with plant physiologist Steven Vaughn and other NCAUR scientists, announced their discovery of the frost grape sap and its chemical and functional similarity to gum Arabic.

Frost grape, Vitis riparia, occurs throughout North America and typically grows as a woodland vine reaching up to 50 feet in length and measuring four to five inches in diameter. Shortly after cutting four-foot sections of the vine on his property in September 2014, Vaughn first observed the jelly-like sap.

Another colleague's use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods revealed the sap to be a "polysaccharide," a type of long-chain carbohydrate whose ratio of two primary sugars resembles that of gum Arabic.

In experiments, use of a water solution and grapefruit oil—a common beverage flavoring-and a one-percent or less concentration of the polysaccharide produced emulsions that remained stable past the study's 72-hour test period. The polysaccharide can also be made into a white powder, viscous liquid, or clear gel. Additionally, it lacks a protein allergen found in gum Arabic, reports Price in an article published in the December issue of AgResearch magazine.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Categories: USDA

Confirming Nutrient Content of Supplements

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 12/10/2015 - 06:50
Confirming Nutrient Content of Supplements / December 10, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Confirming Nutrient Content of Supplements Read the magazine story to find out more.

Dietary supplements and bottles. Link to photo information
Dietary supplements being prepared for shipment to labs for blind testing of ingredients. Click the image for more information about it.

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By Rosalie Marion Bliss
December 10, 2015

About half of U.S. adults consume dietary supplements. A database that validates the content of dietary supplements was updated to help researchers more accurately determine relationships between dietary supplement use and public health. The update was released by scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Research nutritionists translate what people eat into nutrients consumed based on data collected during national dietary intake surveys and studies. The third edition of the data resource—the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database Version 3.0 (DSID-3)—is designed to help researchers estimate nutrient intakes from dietary supplements, which can be combined with information about the foods and fluids people consume.

DSID-3 houses information on the ingredient content in popular dietary supplement products consumed in the United States and has averaged more than 13,500 unique visitors each month. For example, most multivitamin and mineral supplements (MVMs) contain iodine. But the DSID-3 shows that labels for adult, child, and non-prescription prenatal MVMs consistently underreport iodine levels by about 25 percent based on chemical analyses.

If iodine intake from multivitamin and mineral supplement use is being tracked for a research study and the amount of iodine consumed is based on label information alone, intake would be underestimated by 25 percent on average, according to ARS project manager Karen Andrews. Andrews and other researchers at the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory, part of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements developed the DSID-3 with other Government collaborators.

Updated ingredients in both adult and child MVMs are included in DSID-3. For the first time, analysis-based estimates on nonprescription prenatal MVMs are included. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and plant oil supplements also are included for the first time, and were defined as fish oil, plant oil, and fish/plant oil blends sold for the primary purpose of increasing the consumer's omega-3 fatty acid intake.

To access DSID-3, click this link.

Read more about this work in the December 2015 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

How Coffee Berry Borers Survive on Caffeine

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 12/08/2015 - 08:54
How Coffee Berry Borers Survive on Caffeine / December 8, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service Read the magazine story to find out more.

 Scientists review coffee borer images. Link to photo information
Technician Ann Simpkins (left) and entomologist Fernando E. Vega review images of the coffee berry borer, a devastating pest of coffee. Click the image for more information about it.


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How Coffee Berry Borers Survive on Caffeine

By Dennis O'Brien
December 8, 2015

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his colleagues have discovered what allows the world's most devastating coffee pest, the coffee berry borer, to survive on a caffeine-rich diet that is lethal to other insects: the bacteria in its gut.

The findings by Fernando E. Vega, an entomologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Javier Ceja-Navarro and Eoin Brodie, who are with the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, are good news for coffee drinkers. They provide a new target for developing strategies to manage a global pest that can cut yields by up to 80 percent and cost growers in Brazil up to $315 million annually.

Coffee generates $46 billion in U.S. sales each year in supermarkets, restaurants and shops, and an estimated 78 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee at least occasionally.

Vega and his colleagues analyzed coffee berry borers from seven coffee-producing regions (Guatemala, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Puerto Rico), as well as from Vega's laboratory-reared colony in Beltsville, Maryland. They removed the digestive tracts from the tiny beetles and placed them in a caffeine-rich medium, where only bacteria that degraded caffeine would survive, to see which bacteria would grow. Scientists found 14 bacterial species that degraded and detoxified caffeine were present. One of those species, Pseudomonas fulva, was the most prevalent.

To confirm that the bacteria degrade caffeine, Vega and his team gave the beetles an antibiotic to wipe out the bacteria and fed those beetles a diet based on coffee beans. The caffeine passed through the beetles' digestive tracts intact, without degrading, but their capability to produce eggs and larvae declined 95 percent. The scientists then added the caffeine-digesting P. fulva bacteria back into the beetles' diets and found that their feces were devoid of caffeine, which showed that the bacteria are key to the detoxification process.

The study, published in Nature Communications (July 2015), was the first to explore the gut contents of the coffee berry borer. A team led by Vega also recently published a study in Scientific Reports (July 2015) mapping the pest's genome. Taken together, the efforts could lead to new pest management strategies.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this research in the December, 2015 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Tropical Fire Ant Movement Traced to Spanish Ships

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 12/03/2015 - 08:54
Tropical Fire Ant Movement Traced to Spanish Ships / December 3, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

Tropical fire ants. Link to photo information
A native of Central and South America, the tropical fire ant most likely traveled to other parts of the world on Spanish ships in the 16th century. Click the image for more information about it.


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Tropical Fire Ant Movement Traced to Spanish Ships

By Sandra Avant
December 3, 2015

A genetic investigation of tropical fire ants has revealed insights into the history of their movement across the globe and voyage to America, according to collaborative research between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists.

Researchers, which included scientists at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, Florida, retraced the history of the tropical fire ant using genetic markers. CMAVE entomologist Dewayne Shoemaker, along with colleagues at the University of Vermont and the University of Illinois, analyzed the genetic diversity in the genomes of tropical fire ants, which are natives of Central and South America. They also studied trading patterns of Spanish vessels that sailed to various lands in the 16th century.

Findings from the study, published in Molecular Ecology in 2015, showed that tropical fire ants were likely transported in dirt used to stabilize Spanish ships that sailed from Acapulco, Mexico, across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines and to other parts of the world. Ants, as well as other invasive organisms, made their way onto land when the dirt from these ships was dumped at different ports to make room for cargo.

Today, the tropical fire ant has spread to nearly all tropical regions. Learning more about invasive organisms such as tropical fire ants is important in finding the best natural enemies to fight them, according to Shoemaker. Also, knowing how ants moved from place to place in the past can help develop methods to prevent future invasions.

In previous research, Shoemaker also reconstructed the invasion history of a different fire ant species, the red imported fire ant. The more researchers learn about invasive ant species, the closer they get to solving problems that infestations can cause, including billions of dollars spent in control, medical treatment and damage repair in urban, agricultural, wildlife, recreational and industrial areas.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this work in the December 2015 issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Connecting Overeating, Emotions and Cognitive Control in Young Children

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 11/24/2015 - 07:12
Connecting Overeating, Emotions and Cognitive Control in Young Children / November 24, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

A device worn on the wrist used to measure activity in the sweat glands, which can fluctuate with the wearer’s emotional states.  Link to photo information
A wristwatch-like device measured activity in children's sweat glands, which fluctuated with children's state of emotion, in an Agricultural Research Service study examining children's emotions as a potential factor for overeating. Click the image for more information about it.


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Connecting Overeating, Emotions and Cognitive Control in Young Children

By Sandra Avant
November 24, 2015

For the first time, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researcher has found a relationship between cognitive control and emotional eating behavior in preschool children.

Nutritionist Kevin Laugero, at Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, found that cognitive control—which includes abilities to make decisions, plan, manage time, and maintain emotional and self-control—is significantly associated with the relationship between overeating and emotions. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

According to Laugero, who studies how stress and emotions shape behavior patterns in people, other research has shown a link between unhealthy eating behaviors, obesity and decreased mental skills in adults. However, not much is known about this connection in younger children.

Working with researchers at the University of California, Davis (UCD), ARS scientists examined the balance between emotional state, snacking and cognitive control in children ages 3 to 6 at a preschool on the UCD campus. They used computerized and hands-on tasks, parent questionnaires and standardized teacher reports to measure cognitive control and assign a cognitive control score.

They also examined the children's emotions as a potential factor for overeating.

In the experiment, children who indicated they were full after eating were instructed to color and were seated at a table that had snacks on it. The more emotions experienced by children with lower cognitive control scores, the more snacks they ate. Children with higher cognitive control scores did not engage in this type of behavior.

Results, which were published in Appetite, indicate that young children with lower cognitive control skills may be more likely to overeat when experiencing heightened emotions, while children with higher cognitive control skills are less likely to overeat.

The research suggests that preschool age may be a good time for anti-obesity intervention, because eating habits and cognitive control are both developing rapidly, according to Laugero. New or existing intervention strategies aimed at improving cognitive control may have the potential to limit emotional eating and promote healthier eating habits later in life.

Read more about this work in the November issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Camelina 'Partnered' with Soybeans for Food and Fuel Benefits

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 12:16
Camelina 'Partnered' with Soybeans for Food and Fuel Benefits / November 20, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

Researchers monitor pollinators in a field of canola. Link to photo information
ARS scientists in Morris, Minnesota evaluate the benefits of planting camelina and other oilseed crops with corn, soybean and other traditional Midwestern crops. Click the image for more information about it.


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Camelina 'Partnered' with Soybeans for Food and Fuel Benefits

By Jan Suszkiw
November 20, 2015

Once considered a weed, camelina is gaining popularity in some parts of the country as a soil-protecting winter cover crop. Additionally, its seed contains high-quality oil for use in cooking and as biodiesel, offering a renewable alternative to imported petroleum.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have been on the forefront of studies to make camelina and other novel oilseed crops more profitable for farmers to grow, easier for industry to process, and better performing as finished biofuels and other products. At the Soil Management Research Unit, operated in Morris, Minnesota, by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), scientists are evaluating the outcome of integrating camelina, canola, pennycress and other oilseeds with plantings of traditional Midwestern crops, such as corn and soybeans.

In a recent study published in the April issue of Agronomy Journal, ARS scientists Russ Gesch and Jane Johnson examined the seasonal water use of double cropping and relay cropping-strategies that overlap the growth of winter camelina and soybean. Highlights of their findings are:


  • Under natural rainfall conditions, relay cropping (in which the soybean crop is seeded between rows of growing camelina plants) used less water than double cropping (in which soybean seed is sown right after a camelina harvest, around mid to late June) and produced higher soybean yields.
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  • Relay-cropped soybean yields were lower than those of full-season soybean crops; however, the total oil yield from the relay system (camelina plus soy) was 50 percent greater than the full-season soybean-only crop.
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  • Net economic returns of relay cropping were competitive with those of full-season soybean, while adding the benefits of a cover crop.

According to the researchers, the study demonstrates a sustainable way to grow crops for both food and fuel on the same parcel of land, which could potentially offer farmers a dual source of income in a single season.

Read more about this research in the November issue of AgResearch.

ARS is the USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Categories: USDA

Camelina Cover Crops a Boon for Bees

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 07:57
Camelina Cover Crops a Boon for Bees / November 19, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

A honey bee forages on a camelina flower. Link to photo information
A honey bee forages on a camelina flower. Click the image for more information about it.


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Camelina Cover Crops a Boon for Bees

By Jan Suszkiw
November 19, 2015

Camelina is an herbaceous, yellow-flowering member of the mustard family whose oil-rich seed and cold tolerance has piqued the interest of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists for its potential as both a winter cover crop and biodiesel resource.

Now, in the process of studying this plant, scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that its flowering period can provide honey bees and other insects with a critical, early-spring source of nectar and pollen that's usually unavailable then. This is especially true in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, where about one-third of the nation's managed bee colonies are kept from May through October.

The researchers observed that fields of winter camelina and winter canola (another alternate oilseed crop) produced about 100 pounds per acre of nectar sugar over the course of a two- to three-week flowering season. That quantity, produced in such a short time, is enough to support the annual energy requirements of a typical bee hive, which is 100-200 pounds of sugar per year, according to Frank Forcella, an agronomist with ARS' Soil Management Research Unit in Morris, Minnesota. He participated on a team of ARS and university scientists which evaluated the attractiveness of camelina, canola and a third oilseed crop—pennycress—during two years of outdoor field trials.

Highlights of the team's findings—reported in the June 2015 issue of Industrial Crops and Products—are:

  • Insect counts showed that, besides honey bees, the three oilseeds also attracted wild bee species, butterflies, beetles, and hoverflies, whose larval stage feeds voraciously on aphids.
  • Insects visited flowering canola up to 15 times more often than pennycress and camelina, perhaps because of higher nectar levels in each individual flower, which are much larger than those of camelina and pennycress.
  • Canola failed to bloom during one of the study years, a reflection of it being less cold-hardy than the other two oilseeds.
  • Camelina earned the highest marks overall, thanks to its optimal combination of desirable agronomic traits.

Read more about this research in the November issue of AgResearch. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Categories: USDA

Solid Fats and Added Sugars in Foods

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 07:02
Solid Fats and Added Sugars in Foods / November 17, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 Beef patties and a variety of fruits, grains, vegetables and dairy products.  Link to photo information
A diet including low-fat dairy, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, and vegetables and fruits is recommended. Click the image for more information about it.


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Solid Fats and Added Sugars in Foods

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
November 17, 2015

A surprisingly high proportion of foods consumed in the United States contain some solid fats and added sugars, according to an analysis of U.S. food-consumption data. The study, which was based on an evaluation of food-intake data from a large sampling of the U.S. population, was led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) nutritionist Lisa Jahns.

Solid fats are solid at room temperature, and added sugars are those added to foods—they are nicknamed "SoFAS" by some nutritionists. These SoFAS are also known as "empty calories," according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), because they provide few or no nutrients yet are high in calories.

Commercially available food group options may include SoFAS as ingredients aimed to boost flavor and desirability, although much solid fat is naturally occurring, such as in meat and milk. The researchers found that a high percentage of foods recommended for consumption by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) contained SoFAS particularly in their commercially available forms. Yet a key recommendation of the guidelines is to reduce the intake of calories from SoFAS.

Survey data of 4,046 foods consumed (2007-2008) was used to estimate the proportion of those foods that contained either solid fats or added sugars from within the major food groups (Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, Fruits and Dairy).

Consumer education about hidden fats and sugars in commonly consumed foods can help people make food choices that maximize diet quality while staying within calorie needs, according to the authors.

Jahns is with the ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The study was published in Nutrition Journal.

Read more about this research in the November issue of AgResearch.

ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Categories: USDA

Strip Tillage and Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality in the Southeast in the Face of Climate Change

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 06:49
Solid Fats and Added Sugars in Foods / November 17, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 Beef patties and a variety of fruits, grains, vegetables and dairy products.  Link to photo information
A diet including low-fat dairy, lean meats, seafood, whole grains, and vegetables and fruits is recommended. Click the image for more information about it.


For further reading

Solid Fats and Added Sugars in Foods

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
November 17, 2015

A surprisingly high proportion of foods consumed in the United States contain some solid fats and added sugars, according to an analysis of U.S. food-consumption data. The study, which was based on an evaluation of food-intake data from a large sampling of the U.S. population, was led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) nutritionist Lisa Jahns.

Solid fats are solid at room temperature, and added sugars are those added to foods—they are nicknamed "SoFAS" by some nutritionists. These SoFAS are also known as "empty calories," according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), because they provide few or no nutrients yet are high in calories.

Commercially available food group options may include SoFAS as ingredients aimed to boost flavor and desirability, although much solid fat is naturally occurring, such as in meat and milk. The researchers found that a high percentage of foods recommended for consumption by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) contained SoFAS particularly in their commercially available forms. Yet a key recommendation of the guidelines is to reduce the intake of calories from SoFAS.

Survey data of 4,046 foods consumed (2007-2008) was used to estimate the proportion of those foods that contained either solid fats or added sugars from within the major food groups (Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, Fruits and Dairy).

Consumer education about hidden fats and sugars in commonly consumed foods can help people make food choices that maximize diet quality while staying within calorie needs, according to the authors.

Jahns is with the ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The study was published in Nutrition Journal.

Read more about this research in the November issue of AgResearch.

ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Categories: USDA

Strip Tillage and Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality in the Southeast in the Face of Climate Change

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 06:49
Strip Tillage and Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality in the Southeast in the Face of Climate Change / November 13, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 A young peanut crop growing in a strip-tilled field. Link to photo information
A young peanut crop growing in a strip-tilled field. Research shows that strip tillage, along with cover crops, can reduce erosion and increase water infiltration. Click the image for more information about it.


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Strip Tillage and Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality in the Southeast in the Face of Climate Change

By Dennis O'Brien
November 13, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Tifton, Georgia, are providing guidance to growers by showing that strip tillage and cover crops are important practices for reducing erosion from sandy soils in the Southeastern United States and for enhancing soil quality.

Dinku Endale, an agricultural engineer with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and his ARS colleagues David Bosch, Thomas Potter and Timothy Strickland compared surface runoff and sediment losses from two common tillage systems between 2000 and 2009, including years with severe drought and heavy rainfall. They collected runoff from fields rotated between peanut and cotton crops that were either conventionally tilled or strip-tilled.

Conventional tillage mixes all crop residues into the soil prior to planting while strip tillage does so only in narrow four-to-six-inch-wide strips where the seeds are planted. The remaining area is left undisturbed so that cover crop residues remain on the surface, providing protection from water and wind erosion. The researchers also used rye as a winter cover crop to protect the soil, increase organic matter and hold nutrients remaining from previous cropping seasons that otherwise might leach away.

The results provide a clear picture of the advantages of strip tillage. About 20 percent of the rain on conventionally tilled fields was lost in surface runoff compared with only 12 percent from the strip-tilled fields. The runoff from strip-tilled fields carried 87 percent less sediment than that from the conventionally tilled fields. Sediment losses exceeded the acceptable threshold for the soil in 3 of the 10 years on the conventionally tilled fields, but they never exceeded the threshold on the strip-tilled fields.

The ARS researchers also found that, with respect to reducing erosion and surface runoff, the benefits of strip tillage were enhanced with cover crops.

The study comes at a critical time. The increased prevalence of herbicide-resistant weeds has prompted some farmers to revert from strip tillage to conventional tillage as a weed control strategy. Climate change also is expected to bring more intense rainstorms that increase runoff and soil erosion from farm fields.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this research in the November issue of AgResearch.

Categories: USDA

Ag Utilization Centers Celebrate 75 Years of Innovation

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 11:01
Ag Utilization Centers Celebrate 75 Years of Innovation / October 29, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Ag Utilization Centers Celebrate 75 Years of Innovation

By Jan Suszkiw
October 29, 2015

 75th Anniversary logo.


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Improved methods of ensuring product quality, detecting foodborne pathogens and creating biobased fuels are among technological innovations arising from 75-years of scientific excellence at four Agricultural Research Service (ARS) regional utilization centers spread throughout the country. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) chief scientific research agency.

The centers, which celebrate their 75th anniversaries during the remainder of 2015 and start of 2016, are the: Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania; Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, California; National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois; and Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The centers were established circa 1940 to create new, value-added uses for surpluses of region-specific crops and their byproducts, notes Rob Griesbach, deputy assistant administrator for ARS in Beltsville, Maryland.

Today, the mission of the centers' scientists remains very much the same—albeit with an expanded list of crops, consumer expectations and marketing challenges.

Some recent advances from the four utilization centers, together with the dates of their 75th anniversary celebrations, are highlighted below.

ERRC (8/20):

  • A new mobile pyrolysis unit capable of converting two tons of agricultural biomass byproducts, such as crop residues, wood and switchgrass into bio-oil—a renewable transportation fuel and petroleum alternative.
  • An analytical method that detects six serogroups of the toxin-producing bacterium Escherichia coli O157:H7. The new method, called "latex agglutination," immobilizes antibodies onto latex particles and is now used in commercial test kits to ensure food safety.

WRRC (9/4):

  • Infrared emitter technology that rapidly peels tomatoes traveling on conveyor belts at food processing plants. Steam- or chemically based methods are now used. But tests suggest using infrared energy could save on water and could work with peaches and pears.
  • Test strip that offers same-day results on the presence of the bacterial toxin responsible for botulism in improperly processed foods and stored meats. Tests indicate the WRRC-developed strips are 100- to 1,000-fold more sensitive than similar products.

NCAUR (10/8 - 10/10):

  • Sucromalt, a low-glycemic-index syrup developed from corn, cane or beet sugars using bacterial enzymes. The sweetener digests slowly but completely in the body when consumed, helping stabilize blood sugar levels. Sucromalt has been commercialized and is being added to a variety of foods or beverages.
  • Estolides, fatty acids derived from high oleic-acid oilseed crops like canola and lesquerella that can improve the cold-weather performance and other desirable properties of biobased engine lubricants.

SRRC (3/8/2016 - 3/10/2016):

  • Biopesticides for controlling the fungus Aspergillus flavus, which produces a harmful crop contaminant called aflatoxin. The biopesticide's active ingredients are non-toxin producing Aspergillus strains that outcompete their aflatoxin-producing "cousins," helping reduce human exposure and avoiding costly losses in corn, cotton, peanuts and certain other crops around the world.
  • Technologies developed at SRRC to adapt cotton nonwoven fabric (unbleached and undyed) for disposable diapers were used by TJ Beall Company, the Seventh Generation Company, and Target stores in launching their new disposable diaper products. The Seventh Generation product—Touch of Cloth disposable diaper—was launched in 2014.

Read more about the utilization centers in the October issue of AgResearch online.

Categories: USDA

ACS Names Beltsville Agricultural Research Center as National Historic Chemical Landmark

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:59
ACS Names Beltsville Agricultural Research Center as National Historic Chemical Landmark / October 21, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

 Harry Borthwick examines soybeans under a carbon arc light. Link to photo information
BARC botanist Harry A. Borthwick, a part of the team that discovered phytochrome, studied the effect of different light wavelengths on Biloxi soybeans using a huge carbon arc light salvaged from a Baltimore burlesque theater. Click the image for more information about it.

ACS Names Beltsville Agricultural Research Center as National Historic Chemical Landmark

By Kim Kaplan
October 21, 2015

BELTSVILLE, Maryland, Oct. 21, 2015 — The discovery of phytochrome by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Agriculture Research Center (BARC) was honored as a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society (ACS) today. Phytochrome is recognized as one of the universal regulators of plant physiology and growth.

It took a 41-year hunt from 1918 to 1959 to identify this pigment-containing protein, which the BARC team named phytochrome. Red light switches phytochrome to a biologically active form, while far red light reverses it to a biologically inactive form, a process that controls germination, growth and flowering.

"Phytochrome was one of the most important discoveries in plant science of the 20th century, making possible many valuable leaps forward for agricultural science, such as growing crops in new seasons and latitudes and even creating new ways to protect plants from pests," said Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young at a ceremony to mark the award. BARC is part of ARS, USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

For example, knowledge of phytochrome, and related photoperiodism, enabled soybean varieties to be bred to mature at staggered dates, boosting the value and importance of soybeans as a crop.

Awareness of phytochrome also brought the discovery that exposing chrysanthemums to light for just minutes in the middle of night prevents flowering. This allowed growers to time blooming, and turned mums into one of the country's most valuable ornamentals with U.S. sales of more than $135 million a year.

"The discovery of phytochrome explains how plants germinate, grow and flower in predictable cycles over the course of a year," said Pat N. Confalone, chair of the ACS Board of Directors. "This extraordinary collaboration between physiologists, biologists, chemists and other scientists at USDA demonstrates the importance of federal research in the fundamental sciences to unlock nature's most powerful mysteries." ACS, the world's largest scientific society, founded the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program in 1992 to recognize important milestones in chemical research.

The ceremony to mark this honor was followed by a symposium hosted by BARC on past, present and future research related to phytochrome. The keynote speaker was Peter H. Quail, professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley and research director of the Plant Gene Expression Center, Albany, California. His talk was titled A Pigment of the Imagination. Also speaking was Karl Norris, a member of the original ARS phytochrome discovery team and the developer of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy, which can quantify the chemical composition of substances using certain light wavelengths.

Categories: USDA

USDA Transfers 3,800 Acres in Brooksville to Florida A&M University

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Tue, 10/20/2015 - 08:42
USDA Transfers 3,800 Acres in Brooksville to Florida A&M University / October 20, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Buildings and barns at the former Subtropical Agricultural Research Station.
Buildings and barns at the former Subtropical Agricultural Research Station. Photo, ARS.

USDA Transfers 3,800 Acres in Brooksville to Florida A&M University

Former USDA Agricultural Research Service Station Adds to University's Research Capabilities

By Kim Kaplan
October 20, 2015

BROOKSVILLE, Fla., Oct. 20, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today marked the transfer of more than 3,800 acres of land and facilities that comprised the former USDA Subtropical Agricultural and Research Station to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M). This is one of the largest single land transfers to one of the 19 historically black land-grant universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890.

"A new chapter in the history of this land begins as we transfer from Agricultural Research Service to Florida A&M University," said ARS administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young. "We look forward to our Florida A&M University colleagues continuing a fine legacy of agricultural research here and teaching the next generation of growers and producers as part of a new Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program."

FAMU President Elmira Mangum said the transfer will greatly enhance the university's research capacity.

"We are grateful to the USDA for entrusting us with this land," President Mangum said. "It will enable FAMU to develop educational training and developmental programs for new and beginning farmers and ranchers, and to teach them the latest biotechnological innovations and other key initiatives."

The site housed the station, part of the ARS, from 1929 until it closed in 2012. Among landmark findings there, ARS researchers demonstrated that genetic and environmental interactions do exist in beef cattle. They also showed that locally produced cows generally outperform cows introduced from another environment. Researchers at the station also established the first herd of Romosinuano cattle in the United States. And, based on studies from 1988-2002, they demonstrated managed cow-calf operations were not major contributors to excess phosphorus loads in surface water in west-central Florida.

Since Brooksville is located in a subtropical region, the property will enable Florida A&M to expand into new research related to subtropical fruits and animals and conduct research of significance to Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It will also enable the University to expand its organic farming. Florida A&M is also developing several partnerships with local organizations to provide training to veterans interested in farming. The partnerships will include establishing some small farms for veterans as a way to transition back from military service.

The transfer includes 3,812.5 acres with 19 buildings, 2,830 square feet of laboratories, 3,600 square feet of office space, and a variety of other support structures constructed between 1932 and 1987.

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