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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

2002 Annual Performance Report & 2003, 2004, 2005 Annual Performance Plans
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1 - Introduction
2 - Table of Contents
3 - Goal I
4 - Goal II
5 - Goal III
6 - Goal IV
7 - Goal V
8 - Goal VI
9 - Summary of Agency Resources for FY 2003
10 - Summary of Agency Resources for FY 2004
Goal I

GOAL I:  To Promote an Agricultural Food and Fiber System That Is Productive and Highly Competitive in the Global Economy.

Funding by Program Activity ($000's)

     FY 2002

      FY 2003

    FY 2004

    Soil, Water & Air Sciences    

              794

              780

            787

    Plant Sciences

         40,510

         47,653

       51,635

    Animal Sciences

         14,940

         19,185

       22,453

    Commodity Conversion & Delivery

       102,779

       115,373

     118,330

    Human Nutrition

                0

                0

              0

    Integration of Agricultural Systems

           1,097

           1,126 

         1,128

               Total

     $160,120

     $184,117

   $194,333

    FTEs

           1,417  

           1,458

        1,486

NOTE: Not included in the table are appropriations for repairs and maintenance of ARS facilities and for some of Homeland Security. 

Analysis of Results for FY 2002:  This goal is the focus of much of ARS’ research related to production agriculture.  Under Goal I, 29 Indicators are aligned under 12 Performance Goals.  Because of the unique and dynamic nature of research, several Indicators were added, deleted, or modified in this report that did not first appear in the Annual Performance Plan for FY 2002.  This was done to ensure that significant accomplishments that were not anticipated last year were reported.  While it is not possible to report research accomplishments numerically, the progress projected in all 29 Indicators was completed or substantially completed during FY 2002.  Sixty-seven significant accomplishments are reported below.

Means and Strategies:  To successfully accomplish the research activities under this goal, ARS will need the level of human, fiscal, physical, and information resources shown in the budget estimates for fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

Verification and Validation:  ARS currently conducts a series of review processes designed to ensure the relevance and quality of its research work and to maintain the highest possible standards for its scientists.  A more detailed description of the evaluation plans can be found in the introduction of this plan.

OBJECTIVE 1.1:  Strengthen competitiveness:  “Enhance the competitiveness of the United States agriculture and food industry in an increasingly competitive world environment.”

STRATEGY 1.1.1:  Cost-effective agricultural production systems:  Develop new knowledge and integrated technologies for more efficient and economically sustainable agricultural production systems of all sizes.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.1.1:  Demonstrate integrated systems and transfer them to users.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will quantify stress responses of cattle, swine, and poultry to specific management practices and to the entire production system.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists of the Livestock Behavior Research Unit, West Lafayette, Indiana, published measures of well-being of animals kept in specific management systems.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This information was transferred to the industry and aided in making choices related to the tail-docking of dairy cattle.

During FY 2003, ARS will

develop technologies to enhance artificial insemination for the sheep industry.

develop selection methods to increase litter size in swine.

transfer to producers information for improving carcass quality in Brahman cattle.

have recommendations on weed control and fertility management for organic producers.

have information and recommendations on the performance of a number of management systems.

During FY 2004, ARS will

develop improved methods to estimate daily yields of herds using robotic milking or reduced sampling.

estimate direct and material breed efficiency effects of four types of cross-herd ewes using intensive and extensive production systems.

During FY 2005, ARS will

provide completed feed reference database for the Feed Information Technology System for corn silage and alfalfa.

transfer to beef cattle producers decision support software for evaluating composite breed formation and evaluation.

develop mathematical models to rate animal well-being for several production practices.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.1.2:  Demonstrate and transfer to users computer-based simulation models and decision support systems.

Indicators:

During FY 2003, ARS will

provide updates for the Crop Sequence Calculator and expand this decision aid’s capacity and capability.

develop four decision aids for peanut production and marketing, and a baseline for the optimal time path for resource allocation for small livestock/crop farms in Western Oregon.

STRATEGY 1.1.2:  Preharvest and postharvest control of pests:  Develop preharvest and postharvest technologies and processes to meet domestic needs and reduce or overcome non-tariff trade and quarantine barriers caused by pests (insects, weeds, pathogens, etc.).

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.2.1:  Demonstrate techniques to control or eliminate preharvest and postharvest insects and diseases, and increase market quality and product longevity.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

continue development of post-harvest insect control methods for stored grain and other commodities to replace insecticides and methyl bromide that are being phased out because of environmental and health concerns.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  New formulations of the insect growth regulator (IGR) methoprene helped control grain beetles, and data are now being used to support the reintroduction of methoprene into the stored grain market.  A volatile formulation of the IGR hydroprene (Pointsource) registered for cockroach control also was effective against the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle, two common insect pests in food storage areas.  These species were added to the product label.  Thiamethoxam, a new neo‑nicotenoid compound used as a seed treatment for field crop pests, also controlled stored‑product beetles, and could protect stored seeds from economic damage.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Development of these biorational pesticides provides additional options for the protection of stored grain.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Pheromone monitoring programs were developed and tested in a commercial warehouse and flour mill.  The data generated was used to determine the influence of trap type, location, and number of traps on insect capture and the interpretation of capture data.  Monitoring programs outside of commercial facilities were also conducted to determine the significance of insect immigration.  Some additional issues being addressed are the relationship between insect movement patterns and trap capture and the relationship between trap capture and product infestation.  Studies are also being conducted to measure the probability of a passing insect being captured by a pheromone trap.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Results of this research will help to make recommendations about the optimal trap types, attractants, locations, and trap numbers to maximize the quality of information generated by monitoring programs.

develop environmentally friendly biopesticides and natural product-based pesticides.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Obtained a U.S. patent for a novel fungicidal saponin (CAY-1) that was purified from cayenne pepper.  Determined that CAY-1 is active at low levels against fungal pathogens affecting strawberries, blueberries, and grapes.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Successful field and greenhouse trials could lead to commercial use of crude or semipurified cayenne extracts as a new fungicide treatment on these crops.  This would provide a novel fungicide and enhance the economic value of cayenne pepper to farmers.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Evaluated the compound sampangine and two analogs for activity against agriculturally important phytopathogens.  One compound (patent being written) had excellent antifungal activity against several economically important fungal pathogens.  Further evaluation of this compound and its active analogs was completed.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Transferred technology for miniaturized bioassays through collaborations and training of other scientists.

develop and demonstrate post-harvest insect control technology for use on stored commodities, storage facilities, and food processing plants.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at Manhattan, Kansas, participated in a series of flour mill related studies that can be used to evaluate treatments, interpret trap catches, and determine impacts of insect movements outside the facilities on infestations within.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  These studies will aid in development of methyl bromide alternatives for flourmills by providing information on when and why pest populations rebound after treatment.

During FY 2003, ARS will

elucidate and manipulate internal mechanisms of resistance to reduce postharvest decay.

reduce postharvest losses and improve quality through resistant cultivars.

continue development of post-harvest insect control methods for stored grain and other stored commodities to replace insecticides and methyl bromide being prohibited because of environmental and health concerns.

develop environmentally-friendly biopesticides and natural product-based pesticides.

During FY 2004, ARS will

continue development of postharvest insect control methods for stored grain and other commodities to replace insecticides and methyl bromide that are being phased out because of environmental and health concerns.

develop and demonstrate new fumigants and other insect control technology to control stored product pests of concern.

develop environmentally friendly biopesticides and natural product-based pesticides.

elucidate, manipulate, or induce existing internal mechanisms of resistance to reduce postharvest decay and improve the quality and longevity of commodities.

identify physical and biologically based approaches that enhance the performance of biocontrol agents against preharvest and postharvest pathogens.

During FY 2005, ARS will

develop practical, effective, economical alternatives to methyl bromide for soil fumigation.

develop practical, effective, economical alternatives to methyl bromide for postharvest treatment (including quarantine).

develop environmentally friendly biopesticides and natural product-based pesticides.

elucidate, manipulate, or induce existing internal mechanisms of resistance to reduce postharvest decay and improve the quality and longevity of commodities.

identify physical and biologically based approaches that enhance the performance of biocontrol agents against preharvest and postharvest pathogens.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.2.2:  Demonstrate technologies to control quarantine pests.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

develop and demonstrate new fumigants and other insect control technology to control quarantine pests of  concern.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at Parlier, California, have demonstrated that heat treatment, which is effective in controlling insects in fresh fruit commodities but generally causes unacceptable fruit damage, had no adverse effects on fruit when combined with low oxygen and high carbon dioxide.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This new type heat treatment shows promise as an alternative to methyl bromide fumigation for quarantine treatment of peaches and nectarines.  

continue to develop alternatives to methyl bromide for weed management.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The invasive perennial vines, kudzu, redvine, and trumpetcreeper are difficult to control with conventional weed control methods and are becoming problematic in the southern United States.  ARS scientists at Stoneville, Mississippi, tested the bioherbicidal fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, in combination with glyphosate for synergistic interactions. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The weeds were controlled (94 percent, 86 percent, and 78 percent, respectively) in field sites that were infested by simultaneous application of glyphosate and corn oil emulsion formulations containing the fungus.  These results suggest that it may be impossible to greatly enhance the bioherbicidal potential of M. verrucaria using gylphosate as a disease synergist, thus saving land managers millions of dollars each year. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The search for methyl bromide alternatives in vegetable crop systems has led to the exploration of alternative technologies, including solarization.  Studies were initiated to evaluate the combined effect of heat treatments and durations of exposure on the viability of tubers of purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge, the primary means of reproduction for these weeds.  Purple nutsedge tubers were shown to be more tolerant of elevated temperatures than were yellow nutsedge tubers. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Solarization cannot be relied upon as a means of reducing nutsedge tuber viability due to the inability to raise soil temperatures for critical durations of exposure. 

continue to screen biological control agents for the mitigation of witches broom (Crinipellis perniciosa) and frosty pod (Moniliopthora roreri) under greenhouse conditions and in overseas test plots.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Large-scale trials of Trichoderma as a candidate control agent (mycogenic) have been initiated in Brazil and Peru.  In both cases substantial reduction in brooms and new infection have been noted.  Innovative application technologies, which hasten colonization of control agents, have also been perfected and applied.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  No commercial fungicides are effective in disease control for cocoa.  Copper sulfate is widely used, but has highly negative environmental impact.  Effective, low-cost, environmentally benign pesticides and biopesticides are urgently required.

initiate research to develop competitive endophytes for controlling black pod (Phytopthora spp.) in cocoa plantations in the Caribbean and West Africa.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Cooperative agreements have been established with African, French, and private industry partners for trials at IITA in Abidan, Nigeria, and in Cameroon.  Work is ongoing.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Same as indicator (1), above.  Currently, trials with biopesticides are underway in collaboration with partners from industry, France and the Government of Cameroon in West Africa.

continue research to identify, assay, and field trial control agents for coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) with emphasis upon both parasitoids and insect pathogens.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Artificial diets have been produced for Cepholomia, a parasitic wasp specific to the borer.  Releases have been made in Colombia and other countries in Central America.  An effective molecular map of Hypothenemus has been developed and published, which is a necessary tool in developing meaningful biological control strategies.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Endosulfans are widely used to control coffee berry borer.  These pesticides are dangerous to human and animal health, relatively expensive, and of decreasing effectiveness.  For economic reasons alone, cost-effective methods of integrated pest management are urgently required, especially in view of declining wholesale coffee prices.

continue coffee berry borer field trials, including limited scale releases of control agents in Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and Jamaica.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  These trials are continuing and Mexico (State of Chiapas) has been added to the field trials.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Most classical biological control strategies fail because large-scale field trials, under varying environments, are not carried out.

continue research to characterize and classify significant collections of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) in cooperation with European and South American collaborators using genetic mapping techniques, with a view to identifying important characteristics linked to disease resistance, quality, flavonoids, and postharvest stability.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Collections in Trinidad and Puerto Rico have been mapped.  Mapping is ongoing in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and West Africa.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Cocoa has suffered as a crop due to a poorly developed genetic base.  Furthermore, modern breeding practices have not been implemented because existing international collections are incorrectly characterized in a large number of instances, making intelligent selections virtually impossible.

continue research to express genetic markers for resistance to Crinipellis, Phytopthora, and Moniliopthora.  Develop collaborative relationships with foreign collaborators to explore, breed, characterize, and introduce improved varietals in important genetic collections.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Cooperative agreements have been signed with CIRAD, France for the development of BAC libraries, micro-satellites, INIAP, Ecuador, for Crinipellis resistance, CATIE-Costa Rica for genetic diversity studies, IITA-Nigeria for Phytopthora resistance.

Enriched micro-satellite maps have already been produced.  Some Quality Trait Loci have already been linked to resistance but will not be published until 2004.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Virtually all breeding to date has been for quality and productivity characteristics.  Establishing disease resistance in the coffee crop is urgent if it is to survive at any level as a commercial enterprise in the Western Hemisphere.  In Africa, the genetic base is dangerously narrow with little demonstrated Phytopthora tolerance.

continue to develop the Tropical Agricultural Research Station in Puerto Rico as a hemispheric source for disease-free tree crop genetic material for transfer to alternative crop programs in the Americas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  A full time curator has been recruited in Mayaguez.  In Miami, the quarantine greenhouse has been rebuilt, allowing for the conservation and dissemination of clonal material, budwood, and grafts.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Sharing genetic material between countries in the Americas has been virtually impossible due to a lack of certified, disease free breeding material.

initiate soil and water conservation research with relevance to integrated pest management and sound agricultural husbandry applications to tropical tree crops in the Americas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  In cooperation with industry, a micronutrient program has been initiated in Brazil.  In cooperation with the Government of Peru and the U.S. Embassy in Lima, an agro-forestry program has been initiated in the Amazonian region.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Little is known about the optimal cultural requirements for cocoa.  Micronutrients play a key role in the viability of other perennial tree crops and most likely will be significant in the case of cocoa, which is well suited to a mixed forestry environment.

continue a program of research and technology development and transfer to cooperating Federal and international organizations, to evaluate control methodologies involving integrated pest management directed to illicit cultivation of coca and opium in South America.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS has supported the Department of State since 1987, by interagency agreement, in developing herbicidal applications, which are effective and environmentally safe for illicit crop eradication in South America.  A large number of granular and foliar agents have been evaluated both under simulated and field conditions.  The Government of Colombia has agreed to use glyphosate, a low toxicity herbicide, for the eradication of both crops.  Glyphosate is essentially harmless to human beings and vertebrates and quickly biodegrades in soil and water.  Technology transfer, through both the United Nations and the Department of State, has also been accomplished, which has included the development of appropriate application technologies and herbicidal adjuvants.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Results of the research and development program have been widely reported in interagency memoranda, to the Government of Colombia and the United Nations and in peer reviewed journals.

continue research and technology development in cooperation with U.S. land management and Federal enforcement agencies to identify, characterize, and control illicit cannabis grown in the U.S.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Most illicit cannabis grown in the United States is grown under canopy or in buildings as a concealment strategy.  Currently, no technology exists to adequately perform remote sensing under these conditions.  Barring technological breakthrough, the program will not be renewed after calendar year 2004.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Aerial sensory techniques, applicable to public lands for the detection of cannabis in open terrain, have already been developed and have been provided to the Air National Guard, various state agencies and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Technology transfer for this portion of the research program is essentially complete.

During FY 2003, ARS will

identify at least two candidate organisms available for field trial release and evaluation for the control of witches broom (Crinipellis perniciosa) and frosty pod (Monilopthora roreri), the major diseases of cocoa in Central and South America.

establish one scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria, in cooperation with U.S. cocoa trade associations and counterpart European research institutions, to evaluate and field trial candidate organisms for the control of black pod rot (Phytopthora megakarya), the principal disease problem for cocoa producers in West Africa.

conduct field trials on at least one pathogen with control potential for coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei), the most serious worldwide coffee pest in terms of total coffee crop, in cooperation with the Colombian Coffee Federation and its research arm, Centro de Investigation de Café (CENICAFE).

establish field trials of selected clonal cocoa materials to screen for resistance to Crinipellis and Monilopthora in Latin American countries, leading to a directed breeding program for cocoa with the goal of establishing disease tolerance.

establish spray technology suitable for delivering both chemical and biological control agents for cocoa and coffee pests, and complete technology transfer to recipient foreign institutions.

continue to develop alternatives to methyl bromide for weed management.

develop and demonstrate new fumigants and other insect control technology to control pests of quarantine concern.

During FY 2004, ARS will

develop and demonstrate new fumigants and other insect control technology to control quarantine pests of concern.

develop alternatives to methyl bromide for weed management. 

in collaboration with counterparts in Brazil and Peru, demonstrate that the use of competitive mycogens, along with improved cultural practice which can reduce the incidence of Witches Broom (Crinipellis Perniciosa).

in collaboration with its counterparts in the United Kingdom, France, and Brazil, produce an integrated cocoa genetic database, Web-accessible, linking phenotypic and molecular data.  The data will be in public domain and widely available to breeders, worldwide.

identify at least four quality trait loci (QTLs) associated with disease resistance.

During FY 2005, ARS will

develop a complete functional map of the cocoa genome.

publish a complete characterization of all commercially significant accessions in each major cocoa collection worldwide.  The development of this taxonomic guide will be based upon accepted molecular techniques utilizing internationally agreed markers.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.2.3:  New and improved diagnostic tests are developed and available.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

commercialize a detection kit for detection 3 methylisoborneol.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Research is continuing with the CRADA partner, Abraxis, in Warmister, Pennsylvania, using monoclonal antibodies.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Problems related to the level of sensitivity of the test has delayed field testing for about six months.

further expand diagnostic abilities by applying new technologies when appropriate to detect disease agents of high consequence to animal health.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS scientists at Plum Island, New York; Athens, Georgia; Laramie, Wyoming; Beltsville and Frederick, Maryland; and Ames, Iowa, working in collaboration with the various universities, have developed and now validating rapid onsite tests that detect and identify important animal, plant and foodborne pathogens

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Development of these new diagnostic rapid detection technologies will provide animal health officials in regulatory capacities (APHIS and State agencies) with greater ability to determine if a disease agent is present, where it is located, and when it is eradicated (if eradication is possible).  This will aid in ensuring that trading partners will have confidence in our ability to detect and control disease agents.

During FY 2003, ARS will

continue to document progress in surveys of both horn fly and tick populations for pesticide resistance-associated mutations in both the sodium channel and acetylcholinesterase (ACHE), and conduct analysis of the fitness of resistant ticks and horn flies.

continue to transfer technology potentially leading to development of an easy-to-use, field-ready identification kit using monoclonal antibodies in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to distinguish screwworms from other wound inhabiting flies.

develop improved detection and identification tests for plant pathogens in commodities, seeds, and other plant products.

develop/transfer technology for detecting the presence of pathogen spores and inoculums.

develop Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to map the association between larval habitats of biting midges and the animal viruses they transmit, such as vesicular stomatitis and West Nile Virus.

test decision-making algorithms using a GIS-based system based upon Formosan subterranean termite field studies and environmental factors.

test and transfer GIS and surveillance and detection technology to the Binational USDA-APHIS Screwworm Eradication Program.

develop rapid molecular-based tests to survey fly, mosquito and tick populations for pesticide resistant mutations and the presence of animal or human pathogens.

develop rapid molecular or biochemical surveillance kits for identifying by species, screwworm and other potential invading flesh flies.

determine the ability of different diagnostic procedures to detect agents by performing full scale evaluations of the technology, either under experimental situations or by field evaluation in countries where the disease exists.

During FY 2004, ARS will

design and test improved decision-making algorithms using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks of insects that transmit diseases to, or damage, livestock or people.

develop and evaluate molecular and biochemical tests for rapidly and accurately detecting animal  pathogens and pesticide resistance in arthropods affecting the health of animals or humans.

transfer the validated technologies to various university and state laboratories for implementation into their existing diagnostic procedures for animal health surveillance.

develop improved detection and identification tests for plant pathogens in commodities, seeds, and other plant products.

develop/transfer technology for detecting the presence of pathogen spores and inoculums.

During FY 2005, ARS will

evaluate the use of dogs for detecting off-flavors from catfish ponds.

develop the above validated tests into field tests that can be put into the hands of first responder and border patrol officials to use in routine inspection of products. Make recommendations on diagnostic procedures and ensure that the technologies are transferred to the appropriate agencies.

design and test improved decision-making algorithms using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks of insects that transmit diseases to, or damage, livestock or people.

develop and evaluate molecular and biochemical tests for rapidly and accurately detecting animal  pathogens and pesticide resistance in arthropods affecting the health of animals or humans.

develop improved detection and identification tests for plant pathogens in commodities, seeds, and other plant products.

develop/transfer technology for detecting the presence of pathogen spores and inoculums.

STRATEGY 1.1.3:  Measurement of product quality and marketability:  Improve quality, uniformity, value, and marketability of commodities and other agricultural products.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.3.1:  Demonstrate postharvest technologies that add value and improve quality.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will demonstrate postharvest technologies that add value and improve quality.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers in Beltsville, Maryland, found that combining hydrodynamic pressure processing (HDP) with aging yielded optimal tenderization of beef and pork cuts 1 to 2 weeks sooner than aging alone.  HDP treatment was more effective in improving tenderness than extended aging alone.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Significant reductions in aging time could translate into tremendous refrigeration energy savings because of the shorter time required to deliver acceptably tender meat to the retail markets.  

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  At the request of the Almond Board of California, researchers at Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted experiments and documented the percent reduction that various processing methods have on reducing aflatoxin in processed almonds.  Aflatoxin reductions in processed almonds were consistently in excess of 90 percent when the basic industry sorting methods were used. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The European Union indicated that it would consider increasing the maximum aflatoxin limit for imported almonds to the current standards allowed for peanuts if documented evidence can be produced showing that processing methods reduce aflatoxin in almonds.  Results were incorporated into a document developed by the Almond Board of California and sent to the European Commission for review.

During FY 2003, ARS will

develop innovative intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of animal products, including ready-to-eat foods, while reducing the impact on quality and consumer acceptance.

develop intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of dairy products, particularly cheese and develop strategies that can be used by small processors.

demonstrate postharvest technologies that add value and improve quality.

During FY 2004, ARS will

develop innovative intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of animal products, including ready-to-eat foods, while reducing the impact on quality and consumer acceptance.

develop intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of dairy products, particularly cheese and develop strategies that can be used by small processors.

demonstrate postharvest technologies that add value and improve quality.

During FY 2005, ARS will

develop innovative intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of animal products, including ready-to-eat foods, while reducing the impact on quality and consumer acceptance.

develop intervention strategies for improving the microbial safety of dairy products, particularly cheese, and develop strategies that can be used by small processors.

demonstrate postharvest technologies that add value and improve quality.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.3.2:  Provide knowledge and technology to expand and improve the grading systems for agricultural commodities and products.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will provide knowledge and technology to expand and improve grading systems.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Concern about the accuracy and precision associated with results from grade samples taken from farmers’ stock peanut lots led the Federal State Inspection Service (FSIS) and the American Shellers Association to request assistance from researchers in Raleigh, North Carolina, who designed experiments, analyzed data, and documented results to determine the optimum number of pneumatic probe samples needed to obtain a representative grade sample. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Shellers and FSIS are now considering an increase in the number of probe samples needed from the current 5 to 10 to improve the accuracy of estimating grade factors and determining the loan value of a farmer’s lot.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  An ARS engineer at East Lansing, Michigan, in collaboration with engineers and horticulturists from Michigan State University, developed a new near-infrared (NIR) sensing method and technique for predicting the firmness and sugar content of apples and cherries.  The technique allows measurements at multiple locations on fruit at a fast rate, and gives improved predictions of apple quality. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Sorting for quality, especially firmness and sugar content, is considered a top priority by the apple industry.  This accomplishment is an important milestone in research to develop a real time sensing system that will allow commercialization of systems to sort apples for firmness and sugar content and allow marketing of apples based upon these quality attributes.

During FY 2003, ARS will provide knowledge and technology to expand and improve grading systems.

During FY 2004, ARS will provide knowledge and technology to expand and improve grading systems.

During FY 2005, ARS will provide knowledge and technology to expand and improve grading systems.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.3.3:  Demonstrate methods to measure the critical processing and end-use properties of agricultural commodities important to the agricultural marketing system and the processing industry.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will demonstrate methods to measure critical processing and end-use properties of agricultural commodities important to the agricultural marketing and processing systems.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Research engineers at Manhattan, Kansas, cooperated with scientists at Kansas State University to develop the system.  A commercial prototype of the new system is being built by a CRADA partner. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This system will allow measurement and sorting based on quality factors such as bunted kernels, protein, moisture, scab damage, and color class at grain elevators, thus allowing segregation at the first point of sale.  It will also provide breeders with a means to sort kernels with desirable traits from samples when developing new cultivars.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Raleigh, North Carolina, examined peanuts that had been shipped to Europe from the United States, China, and Argentina.  Data on oil quality and both descriptive sensory and consumer analysis of flavor clearly demonstrated the superior quality of U.S. peanuts.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The data demonstrate superior quality of U.S. peanuts in export markets.  The information has been presented in international forums and used in developing marketing information on U.S. peanuts.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Raleigh, North Carolina, developed methods to design and evaluate the performance of Tilletia controversy Kuhn (TCK) sampling plans to minimize both the exporter’s risk (good lots rejected) and importer’s risk (bad lots accepted) associated with testing export shipments.  Data from the study provided adequate information on which to base USDA sampling plans that would satisfy U.S. exporters and Chinese importers.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  China and the United States signed an Agricultural Cooperation Agreement whereby China will import U.S. wheat produced in the Pacific Northwest with 30,000 or less TCK spores per 50 grams of wheat.  Results of the study will result in millions of dollars of export wheat sales to China.  

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Fargo, North Dakota, determined that the falling number value of the stirring number value is very effective in determining the extent of sprout damage in oats and that increased groat breakage is the most significant quality characteristic affected by sprout damage.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Oats serve as an important food and feed source.  They contain high levels of protein and soluble fiber, the latter of which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol in humans.  Improvement of American oat quality is important in light of eroding U.S. oat production, which is being replaced by imports from Canada during a time when American demand for oats is increasing.  Sprout damage has only recently been recognized as a problem in oats.  As a result of this research, milling companies in the United States, Canada, and Finland are now requiring the oats that they buy pass a sprout damage test before purchase.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at Albany, California, identified a method using x-rays to identify afflicted fruits and developed an algorithm for automatic detection.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The pineapple industry needs a method to non-destructively identify pineapples that suffer from “translucency,” a disorder similar to watercore in apples.  The results of the research were submitted to a major pineapple producer for possible cooperation in the development of a real-time sorting device to improve the quality of pineapples going to market and aid in breeding research.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  In response to the unilateral and sudden imposition of new quality standards for cotton imported into the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. cotton industry asked ARS for help in determining the difficulty and the value of the required measurements.  ARS responded immediately with an analysis of the required devices and procedures, followed by the formation of task forces to generate data evaluating the efficacy of these new procedures.  The task forces were structured to produce answers within weeks of being organized. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The early analyses by ARS allowed the U.S. industry to protest the new required measurements as inappropriate and uninformative.  At stake is the importation of almost 4 million bales of cotton by China, which is part of the agreement for it to enter the World Trade Organization. 

During FY 2003, ARS will demonstrate methods to measure critical processing and end-use properties of agricultural commodities important to the agricultural marketing and processing system.

During FY 2004, ARS will demonstrate methods to measure critical processing and end use properties of agricultural commodities important to the agricultural marketing and processing system.

During FY 2005, ARS will demonstrate methods to measure critical processing and end use properties of agricultural commodities important to the agricultural marketing and processing system.

STRATEGY 1.1.4:  International technology interchange:  Develop a strategy for selective international research interchange to supplement ARS technology developments and strengthen competitiveness of U.S. agriculture.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.1.4.1:  Strategic alliances formed with specific foreign institutions, leading to the joint development of germplasm and value-added technologies, mutually protected through intellectual property agreements.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

coordinate research results from scientists at ARS locations and selected international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Initiated a cooperative project with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) pertaining to disease resistance in cacao.  This is a new 3-year effort co-funded by the American Cocoa Research Institute and USAID.

Continued collaborative research with the International Center for Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT) in mirroring the Maize DB at CIMMYT and entering its information into the system.

Completed a cooperative study with IITA pertaining to inbred maize lines for higher bioavailable iron content.  Varieties containing significantly higher bioavailable iron were identified.

Completed a 5-year project with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) on integrated pest management of whitefly, a major pest of several food crops. 

Facilitated a cooperative project, funded by USAID, between IITA and Purdue University to study the impact of gene flow in cowpea.

Established a project on herbal and medicinal plants in Tunisia, in cooperation with the Institut des Regions Arides in Medenine and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The cacao project with IITA will utilize genetic approaches to identify germplasm that is resistant to phytopthera, a fungal disease that can devastate the crop in both Latin America and West Africa.  This project is significant to both consumers in developed nations and producers in developing nations.

The joint effort CIMMYT has resulted in the new CIMMYT MaizeDB data repository.  This repository is a valuable tool for researchers attempting to enhance both the production and quality of maize.

As malnutrition and under-nutrition continues to plague Africa, crop varieties that are productive in Africa with higher available iron content developed in conjunction with IITA can reduce illnesses associated with micro- and macro-nutrient malnutrition.

Integrated pest management strategies for the suppression of whitefly, developed at CIAT under the auspices of ARS, have received global acclaim.  The documented approaches provide tools to protect a number of crops from damage caused by the insect and associated disease.

Cowpea, a major staple pulse in Africa, is being genetically manipulated at IITA to improve insect resistance, which would greatly improve production in Africa.  As West Africa is a known Center of Origin for cowpea, it is important to understand the impact of introducing a transgenic cowpea prior to its release.

The equivalent of $250,000 has been granted from the USDA-Foreign Agriculture Service (PL480 funds) to fund the herbal and medicinal plant project with ICARDA.  An extensive socio-economic survey was completed.

participate in long-term cooperative research and development projects involving the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and client countries.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS developed three projects that are approved and/or awaiting implementation.  They are the Marsa Matrouh Resource Management Project in Egypt, the Aquaculture Improvement Project in China, and the Gansu-Xinjiang Pastoral Development Project also in China.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS scientists located in Mandan, North Dakota, and Lincoln, Nebraska, participate in the Marsa Matrouh Resource Management Project.  The Egyptian government and the World Bank are expected to further discuss Phase II when non-disbursed funding from Phase I is spent in Fall 2003.

The Aquaculture Improvement Project was slowed due to a restructuring of the effort, making it difficult to predict whether the project will be terminated or continued.

The World Bank approved the Gansu-Xinjiang Pastoral Development Project.  Implementation starts in Spring 2003.  ARS scientists from El Reno, Oklahoma, will participate.

participate in World Bank/GEF identification missions to Kazakhstan and Jordan.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS developed two projects that were approved and/or awaiting implementation.  They are the Kazakhstan Drylands Management Project and the Conservation of Medicinal and Herbal Plants Project in Jordan.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The Global Environment Facility approved the Kazakhstan Drylands Management Project.  The Project Appraisal Document is in preparation for the appraisal mission to be conducted in Spring 2003.  Negotiations and implementation are expected to follow shortly thereafter.

The World Bank internal review of the Conservation of Medicinal and Herbal Plants Project Appraisal Document was accepted and negotiations between Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and the World Bank Board of Directors is expected in March 2003.  Implementation is likely shortly thereafter.

develop formal agreements with international research institutions of excellence to address agricultural problems of mutual interest.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Mexican National Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Research, the Post Graduates College, and the Center for Research in Food and Development.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The Memoranda of Understanding with the Mexican National Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Research, the Post Graduates College, and the Center for Research in Food and Development, are part of an overall effort to strategically refocus research cooperation with Mexico in high priority areas of the U.S.-Mexican Binational Commission, which includes trade and environmental impact.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Broad cooperation was established between the United States and the Peoples’ Republic of China that focuses on natural resource management.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  On May 20, 2002, the Joint Centers for Soil and Water Conservation and Environmental Protection were opened. One is hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, on the campus of the Northwest Sci-tech University for Agriculture and Forestry at Yangling, Shaanxi Province, China.  The other center is located in the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson in cooperation with three ARS laboratories (National Soil Erosion Lab, West Lafayette, Indiana; National Sedimentation Lab, Oxford, Mississippi; and the Southwest Watershed Research Lab in Tucson, Arizona).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) program reviewed approximately 90 proposals for joint research.  The U.S.-BARD addresses many agricultural problems of common interest to Israel and the United States, such as water quotas for agriculture, labor issues, production and environmental issues, etc.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund Board of Directors approved 25 project proposals in 11 disciplines for funding at about $300,000 each.  The U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund remains a cornerstone of mutual U.S.-Israel efforts to overcome agricultural problems through sound science.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Labex Program, in which scientists from Embrapa (Agricultural Research Corporation) of Brazil are housed in ARS laboratories, was enhanced by two formal agreements.  Mutually beneficial research was conducted in the areas of integrated pest management, animal health, precision farming, global change and industrial utilization of commodities.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Labex fostered considerable high-impact, large-scale U.S.-Brazil cooperative projects, including those concerned with the complete genome sequence of X. fastiosa (causative agent of Pierce’s Disease), genomic identification of disease resistance in bovines, porcine, and avian manure management, and sensory tools for the economic and efficient use of agricultural inputs.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS utilizes three specific cooperative agreements with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica, facilitating research and capacity building activities in that country in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS collaborates with the CATIE on research that is vital to the Central American region, in particular the maintenance of a sustainable tropical tree crop program.  The program includes field trials of biological control agents for cocoa and sustainable production of coffee and banana, emphasizing adequate soil and water conservation.  Capacity building activities at CATIE offer direct benefits to the region, develop greater scientific linkages, and strengthen the ability to transfer technology to the people of the region. This ultimately builds relationships and capacity to foster long-term partnerships in other countries in areas of strategic importance to the agency’s mission.

with funding from the Department of State Freedom Support Act, engage former Soviet biological weapons (BW) scientists to redirect their efforts to peaceful, agricultural research and help reduce the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS teams traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan to assess research institutes and identify collaborations of mutual benefit.  The teams focused on research institutes that are primarily dedicated to agriculturally important animal and plant diseases.

Since inception (1998), 46 projects have been approved under the ARS-Former Soviet Union (FSU) scientific cooperation program.  The projects focus on plant research, animal health, and natural resources, which involve over 900 FSU scientists, half of whom are former bio-weapons scientists.  Twenty new projects were approved, and 11 funded for a total of approximately 3.6 million dollars.

Fifty-five Russian, Kazakhstani, and Uzbek scientists traveled to the United States to meet with ARS counterparts to develop project proposals or work on existing projects.  In addition, 22 ARS scientists and representatives traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan under on-going projects or as part of ARS team visits. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  All funded projects are enhancements to the ARS National Research Programs.

The program advances basic and applied research in agriculture and supports the transition of the Newly Independent States (NIS) to a market economy by strengthening scientific communities and integrating NIS scientists into the international community.

The program also supports U.S. foreign policy:  The proliferation risk for weapons of mass destruction is reduced; transparency at former Soviet bio-weapons research sites is increased; and activities of former Soviet weapons scientists in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are redirected to peaceful, agriculturally beneficial research.

During FY 2003, ARS will

provide mutual exchange and cooperative development of Lotus spp. germplasms by INIA (Uruguay) and ARS for the co-development of rhizomatous lines with suitable winter-hardiness for adaptation in both countries.

engage former Soviet biological weapons scientists to redirect their efforts to peaceful, agricultural research and help reduce the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with funding from the Department of State Freedom Support Act.

coordinate research results from scientists at ARS locations and selected international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR.

participate in long-term cooperative research and development projects involving the World Bank or USAID.

develop formal agreements with international research institutions of excellence to address agricultural problems of mutual interest.

During FY 2004, ARS will

engage former Soviet biological weapons scientists to redirect their efforts to peaceful, agricultural research and help reduce the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with funding from the Department of State Freedom Support Act.

coordinate research results from scientists at ARS locations and selected international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR.

participate in long-term cooperative research and development projects involving the World Bank or USAID.

develop formal agreements with international research institutions of excellence to address agricultural problems of mutual interest.

During FY 2005, ARS will

engage former Soviet biological weapons scientists to redirect their efforts to peaceful, agricultural research and help reduce the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with funding from the Department of State Freedom Support Act.

coordinate research results from scientists at ARS locations and selected international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR.

participate in long-term cooperative research and development projects involving the World Bank or USAID.

develop formal agreements with international research institutions of excellence to address agricultural problems of mutual interest.

OBJECTIVE 1.2:  Develop new uses and products:  “Develop new uses and new products for agricultural commodities, such as alternative fuels, and develop new crops.”

STRATEGY 1.2.1:  New and alternative crops:  Develop new and alternative crops with economic and social value.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.2.1.1:  Experimentally develop and demonstrate production of new, improved, and alternative farm animals, crops, and horticultural products.

Indicators:

During FY 2003, ARS will develop new fruit, vegetable, nut, and ornamental germplasm with competitive enhancements (yield, pest resistance, quality) for producers, while providing exciting new market choices for consumers.

During FY 2004, ARS will

develop new and improved horticultural crops targeted at specific production-limiting challenges.

develop new and improved horticultural crops targeted specifically at enhancing consumption patterns and marketability.

During FY 2005, ARS will

develop new and improved horticultural crops targeted at specific production-limiting challenges.

develop new and improved horticultural crops targeted specifically at enhancing consumption patterns and marketability.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.2.1.2:  Experimentally demonstrate new and improved management practices for production, harvesting, and postharvest handling procedures of these commodities.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

continue to develop strategies for protecting and using insect pollinators to increase crop production.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Honey Bee Research Unit in Tucson, Arizona, have developed an artificial diet for honey bees that can be used as the bee’s sole food source. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This provides beekeepers with an inexpensive and easy to use artificial diet that can help insure strong, populous colonies for pollination, particularly for use in spring build-up, e.g., for almond pollination in California.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research Unit in Logan, Utah, conducted research on a nesting block design for the blue orchard bee that was inexpensive, durable and easily sanitized. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This research, done in collaboration with a cherry producer in Utah, has resulted in a patent (U.S. Patent 6,364.738 Solitary Bee Nesting Block) for a nesting block that will make it easier for growers to manage non-honey bee pollinators for apples, pears, cherries, and other orchard crops.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research Unit in Logan, have completed the second year of a research and demonstration project that uses meadowfoam, an oil-seed crop, to increase populations of the blue orchard bee. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This discovery could ultimately lead to zero pollination costs per acre as well as increased profitability from the sale of surplus bees.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Beneficial Insects Research Unit at Weslaco, Texas, completed research that compared methods for applying the antibiotic tylosin -- in a dust with powdered sugar or in a grease patty -- to bee hives for control of American foulbrood disease.  The grease patty method was as effective as the dust method, but hives treated with the grease patty experienced significant increases of the damaging small hive beetle.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This information provides a warning to beekeepers that use of grease patties in areas with the small hive beetle may result in increased damage due to this invasive pest.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Beneficial Insects Research Unit at Weslaco, Texas, determined that use of the pesticide coumaphos did not significantly affect bee mortality or adversely affect reproducing queens.

IMPACT/OUTCOME: This provides additional evidence that coumaphos can be used safely for control of the varroa mite.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have shown that honey bees imported from far eastern Russia have strong genetically-based resistance to the varroa mite.  Russian bees also exhibited strong resistance to the tracheal mite.  In addition, Russian bee honey production was as good or better than that of commercial U.S. stocks of honey bees and the Russian bees exhibited excellent winter hardiness.  Also, a different strategy, one that employs domesticated bee stocks, is showing promise for increasing the frequency of mite-resistant genes.  Honey bees were found to express a high level of resistance to varroa mites when bees were selected for only one resistant trait [suppression of mite reproduction (SMR)].  A significant level of mite resistance was retained when commercially reared queens with the SMR trait were allowed to mate freely with unselected drones. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This research suggests that commercial queen producers can produce mite resistant queens by using their traditional methods of queen production using new bee stock from Russia. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at the Beneficial Insects Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas, have found a fungal pathogen of varroa mites to be as effective as pesticides currently in use, and with no adverse effects on honey bees.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The commercialization and widespread use of this pathogen could lead to the elimination of pesticides in beehives.

During FY 2003, ARS will

continue to develop strategies for protecting and using insect pollinators to increase crop production.

improve technology to reduce spray drift, while providing effective spray distribution in tree canopies.

develop integrated cropping, harvesting, and postharvest handling systems.

During FY 2004, ARS will

continue to develop strategies for protecting and using insect pollinators to increase crop production.

improve technology to reduce spray drift, while providing effective spray distribution in tree canopies.

develop integrated cropping, harvesting, and post-harvest handling systems.

During FY 2005, ARS will

continue to develop strategies for protecting and using insect pollinators to increase crop production.

improve technology to reduce spray drift, while providing effective spray distribution in tree canopies.

develop integrated cropping, harvesting, and post-harvest handling systems.

STRATEGY 1.2.2:  New uses and products:  Develop new food and non-food uses and products from plants and animals, and new processes and other technologies that add value.

PERFORMANCE GOAL 1.2.2.1:  Experimentally demonstrate improvements in processing technologies and develop new bioproducts and uses that have potential to increase demand for agricultural commodities.

Indicators:

During FY 2002, ARS will

experimentally demonstrate improvements in processing technologies and develop new bioproducts and uses that have potential to increase demand for agricultural commodities.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, developed a method for the rapid extraction of pectin from orange peels that is less expensive than microwave heating and which produced pectin with properties superior to commercial pectin extracted from lime/lemon peel.  Other scientists within the unit, in collaboration with researchers in the United Kingdom, demonstrated that Florida orange peels could enhance the growth of health-promoting gut bacteria at the expense of disease-causing gut bacteria. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  U.S. citrus processing generates 106 tons of orange peel/pulp per year, most of which is used in low-value animal feed.  These results offer potential for new value-added uses for Florida orange peels.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, demonstrated that leather treated with low molecular weight polyethylene glycol solutions significantly reduces the stiffness of leather.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Hides are the most important byproduct of the meat packing industry, providing the raw material for the domestic leather industry and generating over a billion dollars in foreign trade.  Fatliquors are routinely applied to leather to lubricate the fibrous structure and to increase the compliance of leather, but they do not promote the retention of essential moisture and therefore, over drying can be a consequence.  This research may provide a possible alternative or supplement to traditional fatliquors and thereby, help prevent aged leather products from becoming brittle and fragile. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, in cooperation with the American Sheep Industry Association and an enzyme company, demonstrated that the structure of the wool scales that surround the fiber and contribute to prickle could be altered by an enzyme treatment.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Consumer acceptance of domestic wool in garments and upholstery is limited, in part, because of skin irritation and prickle.  The enzymatic treatment is an alternative to conventional scale alteration by chlorination and may facilitate the establishment of wool’s competitive market share and increase the demand for natural fiber blends of wool.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists in New Orleans, Louisiana, invented a dry instantization process for reducing the cooking time of brown and dry rice from 45-50 minutes to that of white rice (20 minutes).  A patent application has been filed, five companies are pursuing licensing of the technology, and a prototype continuous system for production of the products has been built.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Existing methods of instantizing rice require significant input of water and energy that, in turn, creates considerable expense.  The new process reduces the cost of processing to make instant rice, reduces environmental pollution, and will make nutritious brown rice more appealing to the consumer.   

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at New Orleans, Louisiana, cooperated with engineers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, to chemically modify soybean hulls to develop an efficient, cost-effective cation exchange resin that could compete with commercial resins in the marketplace. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Hulls from soybeans are low value, high volume processing by-products that amount to about 13 billion pounds annually.  ARS transferred the technology to a private sector partner and is cooperating in product scale-up.  The private sector partner has had numerous requests from companies to use the modified hulls as a replacement cation exchange resin in place of more expensive synthetic commercial resins.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Raleigh, North Carolina, in collaboration with scientists at North Carolina State University, designed, constructed, and tested pilot plant equipment for evaluating bag-in-box technology for producing “process ready” brined/fermented vegetables.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Brining is an inexpensive means for temporary preservation of cucumbers and certain other produce, but current technology creates a negative environmental impact due to waste generation (salt and organics) and variable product quality and uniformity.  The new technology can benefit farmers by providing value enhancement and a market hedge.  Processors will reduce waste and produce more uniform and higher quality products.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Scientists at Albany, California, developed a novel ethanol-based method to displace starch from well-developed dough, thus improving the vitality of gluten significantly relative to that from the conventional water displacement method.  The gluten derived from ethanol cold-processing exhibited mixing properties and comparable or improved baking properties.  Most importantly, the ethanol-separated gluten was much more resistant to high temperature extremes of drying.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  In the traditional water-based separation of gluten from wheat, the gluten loses much of its vitality.  Improved gluten quality via the ethanol process will reduce energy costs and improve the competitiveness of U.S.-produced gluten.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS agricultural engineers at Dawson, Georgia, in collaboration with dryer manufacturers, determined that a continuous flow dryer with alternating heating and tempering sections increased drying capacity to approximately twice that of conventional wagon drying systems, while having minimal detrimental effects on quality.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Increased peanut harvest capacity has caused a severe shortage of capacity at commercial curing facilities.  If the peanut marketing system is modified to allow the use of continuous flow dryers, these findings can eliminate the shortage of curing capacity faced by the peanut industry.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Albany, California, developed casting technologies to create 100 percent fruit and vegetable wraps and entered into a CRADA with an industrial partner to scale up the production process for these films.  The research generated an extraordinary amount of national and international press interest and won a Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science magazine.  In related research, the researchers also developed and licensed a technology for forming 100 percent fruit health bars from pears to add value and create new markets for pears. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The wraps should be commercially available in the near future and will increase utilization and consumption of fruits and vegetables, improving not only the American diet, but also the environment by reducing large amounts of disposable packaging materials.  The industrial partner who licensed the fruit health bars technology is scaling up the process at a plant in a rural area of Oregon, which presently has high unemployment, to begin to manufacture the fruit bars.  This grass-root effort on behalf of pear growers has recently expanded beyond pears into other fruits and vegetables from the Western States and is expected to increase growers’ profits, while assisting Americans in meeting their daily dietary requirements for fruits and vegetables. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Researchers at Peoria, Illinois, prepared soybean oil-based composites by cross-linking epoxidized soybean oil with a resin and five different gelling agents and using a solid free-forming fabrication method (SFF), which doesn’t require the use of molds. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The preparation of structurally strong composites from renewable resources is attractive due to the environmental sustainability of the raw materials used and the new markets created for farm products.  The combination of natural fibers with soybean oil will also produce composites that will be cheaper than the available alternatives.  Using SFF will also open the door to a broad range of new applications such as in the automotive, construction, aircraft, and military industries.  The U.S. patent on the process is pending and a CRADA with an industry partner is in progress.      

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Cooperative work with the University of Illinois and a private company has established that gin trash – the material left behind after the cotton fiber and the seeds have been separated and cleaned – makes an effective mulch that suppresses weeds and promotes grass establishment more effectively than some commercial mulches.  Other work with Texas Tech University, Cotton Incorporated, and private companies showed that this material provides excellent roughage in a typical feedlot diet that promotes weight gain and efficiency of cattle. Extruded gin trash also can be pelletized for use as a high-quality fuel in pellet stoves. 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Disposal of gin trash is an economic burden.  All of these uses could turn the economic losses from handling gin trash into profits for the ginner.

increase ethanol yield by partial saccharification of corn fiber by use of new organisms which ferment pentoses, or do not produce succinate, or ferment xylose without glucose repression.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Metabolic engineering was used to manipulate the biosynthetic pathways of microorganisms to develop a series of biocatalysts that improve conversion of biomass sugars to fuel ethanol.  Strains of bacteria were developed that increase ethanol production by co-utilization during fermentation of the multiple sugars present in agricultural biomass.

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The microorganisms developed bring the commercial production of fuel ethanol from agricultural biomass closer to reality.

During FY 2003, ARS will

experimentally demonstrate improvements in processing technologies, and develop new bioproducts and uses that have potential to increase demand for agricultural commodities.

develop new enzymes, by use of molecular evolution, to reduce the costs and energy use for producing bioethanol.

scale up enzymatic production of sugars from corn fiber for fermentation to ethanol and higher-value co-products by recombinant organisms.

identify specific enzymes that can best serve to replace sulfites for steeping corn.

complete a comparative cost analysis of a plant producing ethanol from both corn starch and corn stover.

During FY 2004, ARS will

experimentally demonstrate improvements in processing technologies and develop new bioproducts and uses that have potential to increase demand for agricultural commodities.

develop processes to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of ethanol production and increase the value of ethanol coproducts.

develop enzymes, organisms, and processes for lower cost and more efficient conversion of cellulosic biomass into ethanol, and technology to integrate stover-to-ethanol with grain-to-ethanol production.

improve understanding of relationships among biodiesel feedstocks, conversion processes, chemical structure, physical properties, fuel quality, storage stability, emissions, and economics that will remove technological barriers to biodiesel use.

During FY 2005, ARS will

experimentally demonstrate improvements in processing technologies and develop new bioproducts and uses that have potential to increase demand for agricultural commodities.

develop processes to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of ethanol production and to increase the value of ethanol coproducts.

develop enzymes, organisms, and processes for lower cost and more efficient conversion of cellulosic biomass into ethanol, and technology to integrate stover-to-ethanol with grain-to-ethanol production.

improve understanding of relationships among biodiesel feedstocks, conversion processes, chemical structure, physical properties, fuel quality, storage stability, emissions, and economics that will remove technological barriers to biodiesel use.

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