Quieting the Din at the Gin
Exchanging solid-wound brush cylinders for the standard
doffing brush cylinders used to comb trash out of newly harvested cotton
has reduced one source of gin noise. The solid-wound brush can be used
in several types of gin machinery, including the two leading sources
of noise: lint cleaners and gin stands. Fiber is removed from cotton
at the gin stands, then foreign matter and other contaminants are removed
by the lint cleaners.
During a field trial, noise levels while using both the
standard and solid-wound brushes were measured and compared. They fell
from 94 decibelsmeasured on the logarithmic A-scale used by industry
to approximate the human earto 78 decibels. Such noise abatement
would greatly improve worker comfort and safety in cotton gins. And
more than 80,000 test bales were processed using the solid-wound brush
without any operational problems. Now other gin owners are using the
new technology, and a brush manufacturer interested in cooperation to
develop a less-expensive refill for the solid-wound brush is being sought.
W. Stanley Anthony,
Ginning Research Unit, Stoneville, Mississippi; phone (662) 686-3094.
Plant breeders are constantly engaged in a vicious cycle,
developing wheats that resist the Hessian fly . . . for a time. But
about every 6 to 10 years, the pest reinvents itself, changing into
a new biotype against which the new wheat plant has no defense. By focusing
on the point of interaction between fly saliva and plant cells, researchers
hope to eventually endow wheat plants with unique biological tools that
could provide long-lasting resistance to the fly.
Ming Shun Chen,
USDA-ARS Plant Science and Entomology
Research Unit, Manhattan, Kansas; phone (785) 532-4719.
New Pinto Bean Resists Fungi
The pinto is the dry bean most often purchased by consumers
and accounts for 40 percent of U.S. dry bean sales. Like other dry beans,
pintos are an excellent, inexpensive source of protein and fiber. And
now, a new, high-yielding pinto germplasm line is promising to make
the future even rosier for growers. Known as TARS-PT03-1, this line
offers a new source of resistance to soilborne fungi that cause root
rot, including Fusarium solani, Rhizoctonia solani, and
Pythium species. It's also moderately resistant to common bacterial
Although TARS-PT03-1 is small-seeded, it should help plant
breeders develop cultivars with disease resistance and greater yield
potential. It has shown good adaptability and performed well in trials
in both tropical and temperate regions. A limited amount of seed can
be obtained through e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ricardo Goenaga, USDA-ARS Tropical
Agricultural Research Station, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico; phone
(787) 831-3435, ext. 226.
Vaccines To End END
Exotic Newcastle disease (END) is a highly contagious,
fatal viral disease caused by virulent Newcastle disease virus (NDV).
It afflicts most bird species and kills nearly all infected, unvaccinated
birds within days. END can cause terrible losses to poultry producers
and backyard bird enthusiasts alike. A recent outbreak in California
led to the euthanizing of some 3.5 million chickens, turkeys, geese,
pigeons, peacocks, and other birds, to keep the virus from spreading
to other states. When it was over, nearly $180 million had been spent
on federal-state efforts to contain and eradicate the END outbreak.
A new, experimental vaccine could be a significant improvement
over those now in use. Current NDV vaccines rely on either killed virus
or weakened live virus to stimulate an immune response that imparts
protection. But these vaccines can cause adverse reactions in some birds,
with resulting production losses.
To avert the problem, scientists have taken the NDV apart,
removed its replicating genetic material, and reassembled it. The resulting
virosome vaccine can attach to and fuse with host cells, but lacking
genetic material, it can't replicate or harm the bird. This prevents
the virus from passing from bird to bird, and it also makes possible
the differentiation between vaccinated and virus-infected birds. Though
this experimental virosome vaccine has shown promising results, further
testing will be required before it is approved for production and use.
R. Kapczynski, USDA-ARS Southeast
Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, Georgia; phone (706) 546-3471.
"Science Update" was published in the April
2004 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.