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Federal Tech Transfer Awards Go to 13 Ag Scientists / May 10, 2000 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Federal Tech Transfer Awards Go to 13 Ag Scientists

By Judy McBride
May 10, 2000

Business can maintain a competitive edge by staying abreast of ARS' vast technology portfolio. To learn more, visit the agency's Office of Technology Transfer.

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 10, 2000--Thirteen scientists from six Agricultural Research Service laboratories in Maryland, Mississippi, West Virginia, Washington and Idaho today will receive Year 2000 Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer from the Federal Laboratory Consortium meeting here this week.

The consortium, a network of more than 700 federal research laboratories that helps move technologies into the marketplace, is honoring 26 federal research teams and individuals at its annual meeting.

“The efforts of six ARS scientists or teams of scientists are leading to new technologies in areas ranging from food and environmental safety to improved cotton processing,” said ARS administrator Floyd P. Horn. “One technology promises a whole new approach for certifying the safety of meat; another moves diagnostic tests for important animal diseases into the marketplace; and a third improves the quality of ginned cotton while increasing farmers’ income.”

Sow and piglets (K7974-18)
Read more about Gamble's research.

ARS parasitologist H. Ray Gamble in Beltsville, Md., is being honored for promoting a new system for certifying pigs at the farm as free of Trichinella and other parasites.

Gamble worked with the National Pork Producers Council and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service to test the feasibility of an “on-farm” audit system. After his study on farms in three states showed the system’s soundness, the National Pork Board voted to proceed with a national program to certify U.S. pork as free of the parasite.

Sheep (K8829-2)
Read about scrapie research and another award to O'Rourke and Knowles.

ARS microbiologist Katherine I. O’Rourke and ARS veterinary medical officer Donald P. Knowles in Pullman, Wash., are cited for developing tools to diagnose three important livestock diseases.

O’Rourke led the team that invented the first noninvasive, preclinical diagnostic procedures for scrapie, a fatal neurological disease in live sheep. The disease is caused by prion proteins, the agents behind “mad cow disease” and related human diseases. Prior to this test, animals had to be slaughtered to detect scrapie.

Read more about IntelliGin.

ARS engineers W. Stanley Anthony and Richard K. Byler in Stoneville, Miss., developed and patented several equipment and software technologies that culminated in a computerized cotton gin process control system now being marketed commercially under the trade name IntelliGin.

With this technology, ginners can prescription-process cotton based on its needs. Prescription ginning improves the quality of ginned cotton and increases its value and profitability. It increases the value of cotton an extra $20 per bale, reduces energy costs, and may also receive incentives from textile mills. Last fall, more than 500,000 bales were processed in 17 commercial systems with IntelliGin.

Codling moth in apple
Read about suppression of the codling moth.

ARS entomologists Carrol O. Calkins, Alan L. Knight, Thomas R. Unruh, Bradley S. Higbee and technician Glenn E. Richardson in Wapato, Wash., together with 11 other scientists from Washington State University, Oregon State University, the University of California at Berkeley and private industry are being lauded for successfully launching an environmentally friendly program to suppress the codling moth in apple and pear orchards in several states.

The team worked closely with growers in Washington, Oregon and California to ensure that the programs are designed and implemented in a way that doesn’t require government support. The number of acres in the Areawide Program for Suppression of the Codling Moth has increased from about 3,000 acres since its beginning in 1995 to more than 21,000 in 1999.

Pears
Read about particle films.

ARS soil scientist Michael Glenn and ARS entomologist Gary J. Puterka in Kearneysville, W.V., conceived the idea of using inert films--made from the naturally occurring mineral kaolin--to ward off insects and disease organisms. They convinced one of the largest manufacturers of these films to venture into agriculture, a whole new arena for the company’s products.

The research and development has resulted in seven patent applications filed jointly by ARS and Engelhard Corporation of Iselin, N.J. The company has registered three kaolin formulations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is seeking similar registration in five foreign countries.

low phytic acid corn
Read about low phytic acid corn.

ARS geneticist Victor Raboy in Aberdeen, Idaho, developed and patented new genotypes of cereals and legumes with reduced levels of phytic acid, a chemical that binds phosphorus so that it cannot be absorbed by chickens, pigs, horses and other non-ruminant animals and passes out in their waste.

Phosphorus is a major contributor to water quality problems, and farmers are seeking ways to control its movement into groundwater and streams. When low-phytic-acid corn is fed to these animals, it dramatically reduces phosphorus levels in animal waste. Raboy’s technology has been licensed to three seed companies, and more licenses are anticipated.

Contact: Judy McBride, ARS Information Staff, phone (301) 504-1628, fax (301) 504-1641, jmcbride@asrr.arsusda.gov.

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