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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1980-1989
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Celebrating Over 90 Years of scientific excellence in agricultural sciences and human nutrition


Photo: Leaner pork chops from a genetically engineered pig Scientists produce the first transgenic pigs--animals containing foreign genes from other species--with the goal of producing animals with less fat and more muscle or marketable meat.

Demonstrates that decreasing dietary animal fat and increasing the proportion of fat from vegetable sources significantly reduces high blood pressure.
Return to top of page Photo: Worker with remote sensing device for measuring nutrient deficiencie in crops or soil Research leads to the science of precision farming. Remote sensing from satellite images is used to detect nutrient deficiencies in crops and environmental conditions such as soil erosion. Models are developed which help determine efficient use of land and water, crop yield forecasting, and drought assessment.

Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming is published by a USDA Task Force co-chaired by Beltsville scientists. This report is a milestone that marks a shift in USDA toward more sustainable agriculture and stimulates subsequent research, education, and extension activities by the Department.
Return to top of page Photo: Commercial plant virus detection kits developed from BARC research Fast accurate tests, based on antibody testing technology, are developed for trichinosis in pigs; for anaplasmosis, a costly parasitic disease in cattle; for plant viruses and viroids; and the identification of fungi and bacteria.

Protective vaccine against coccidiosis in chickens is developed. This disease results in an annual loss in the U.S. of $400 million.
Return to top of page Photo: Subject riding exercise bicycle in room-sized calorimeter, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Developed two room-size calorimeters for humans and animals to study metabolism under near normal conditions.
Return to top of page Photo: Apple varieties The Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) is established as the world's most comprehensive database of agriculturally important plants. Beltsville scientists direct USDA plant exploration all over the world.

Nutrition studies with rodents show 100% mortality from heart problems if they are fed high sugar--copper deficient diets. If starch is used instead of sugar, or copper is in the diet, the animals survived. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S.

Last Modified: 9/20/2013