more detailed story about the work in Agricultural
A Space-Age Peek into Floral and Nursery
December 22, 2000
Agricultural Research Service
scientists in Wooster, Ohio, are using space-age technology to bring us better
poinsettias and evergreens.
Actually, the ARS scientists who share the new
Molecular and Cellular Imaging
Center in Wooster with Ohio State
University scientists are using this technology to protect all floral and
nursery crops against pests--holiday or otherwise. They work closely with the
industry in their constant battle against the numerous pests that stand between
us and our flowers and plants.
The floral and nursery industry commits $2 to $3 million a year--through
grants to university and government researchers--to support this kind of
research nationwide. The Society of American
Florists and the American Nursery and
Landscape Association have also joined forces with ARS to create the
Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative.
Through this Initiative, the federal government acknowledges the
industrys standing as a major agricultural enterprise; corn and soybeans
are the only two individual crops that surpass floriculture and nursery crops
in value. For fiscal year 2001, Congress has appropriated $4.7 million for this
The Wooster scientists receive Initiative funds to improve spraying in
greenhouses and nursery fields, using both biological and chemical pesticides.
The Imaging Center has four advanced microscopes and related equipment with
digital imaging, which allows the scientists to view pesticides flowing through
the waxy peaks and valleys of the leaf surface, just as water flows on planet
Earth. The imaging technology is similar to that used to photograph Mars.
The center has three of the latest electron microscopes, offering an
actual view of plant-parasite- pesticide interactions, up to several million
One of these is connected to an x-ray analyzer that determines the
chemical and physical structures of the plants, pests, biocontrol organisms and
pesticides. This enables scientists to not only view fungicide coverage, but
also identify the chemicals in the pesticide residue.
story about the work appears in the December issue of Agricultural Research, ARS
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures principal scientific research agency.
Scientific contact: Charles R.
Technology Research Unit, Wooster, Ohio.