USDA Research Agency to Induct Three Scientists to Hall of FameBy
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18--Innovative pest controls,
disease-fighting coats for wheat seed and pioneering
studies on photosynthesis illustrate career achievements that have
earned three U.S. Department
of Agriculture scientists a place in the
Services Science Hall of Fame.
ARS is USDAs chief scientific research arm, operating more
than 100 laboratories across the country as well as overseas
ARS initiated the Hall of Fame program in 1986 to recognize
the outstanding career achievements of scientists like Drs. Morton
Beroza, R. James Cook and William L. Ogren, said Agriculture
Secretary Dan Glickman. Their work has gone far beyond the lab
bench to the great benefit of agriculture and the consumer.
Inductees to the Hall of Fame are agency scientists considered by
their peers in the national and international communities to have made
a major impact on agricultural research. They must be retired or
eligible to retire to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
In an induction ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 24 at the
National Arboretum here, each scientist will be presented with a
plaque. Copies of the plaques citing their achievements will go on
permanent display along with those for 39 other ARS Hall of Fame
inductees at the agencys
Center in Beltsville, Md.
Beroza, who resides in Silver Spring, Md., joined ARS in 1948.
Before retiring in 1974, the chemist served as research leader for the
Synthesis Investigations Unit at the agencys
Research Center. His expertise in analytical chemistry led to
the development of Disparlure, a synthetic version of the
gypsy moths natural chemical sex attractant, or pheromone.
Disparlure is used in both detection and control strategies aimed at
preventing the moths caterpillar offspring from defoliating
In the early 1960's, Beroza identified, synthesized and patented a
compound called Trimedlure. The compound attracts Mediterranean fruit
flies, which are not native to the United States. If the fruit flies
became established on the U.S. mainland, they would pose a serious
threat to citrus and other produce in Florida, California and other
temperate states. Today, Trimedlure is still the key ingredient in
more than 50,000 medfly traps being used in state detection programs.
Cook joined ARS in 1965. He resides in Pullman, Wash., and conducts
studies at ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research
Unit. Under Cooks leadership, the lab is perfecting a new
treatment for protecting wheat seed using a living coat of Pseudomonas
fluorescens bacteria. The helpful microbes secrete antibiotics
that stave off attack by the fungus that causes take-all.
This disease costs farmers more than $1 billion annually in losses.
Cooks work has also shown that by using shorter crop
rotations, quality seed, precise placement of fertilizers and other
practices, wheat farmers can maintain crop yields while conserving the
soil with minimum tillage.
Ogren joined ARS in 1965 as a plant physiologist at the
Research Unit in Urbana, Ill. Ogren, who lives in Hilton Head,
S.C., retired in 1995 after serving as a leader for plant physiology
and production on ARS National
Program Staff in Beltsville.
Ogrens early studies helped to show how the natural enzyme
rubisco regulates photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce
their food (carbohydrates) using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere. Using tools of molecular biology, plant
researchers are now trying to modify rubisco in ways that will enable
crop plants to carry out photosynthesis more efficiently for greater
yields and productivity.
Ogrens research also helped establish many of the equations by
which computer models today simulate plant growth and productivity
under various global climate change scenarios.
Contact: Press releases with further details on
accomplishments of each Hall of Fame inductee can be obtained from the
ARS Information Staff.