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Burton Wins ARS Award for Soybean Research / February 13, 2002 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Burton Wins ARS Award for Soybean Research

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
February 13, 2002

BELTSVILLE, Md., February 5, 2002--Joseph W. Burton, a research agronomist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Raleigh, N.C., will be recognized by the agency on Feb. 13 as the "South Atlantic Area Scientist of the Year" for his pioneering work in developing soybean varieties and breeding lines with improved protein and oil quality. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ARS' South Atlantic Area includes Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and the Virgin Islands.

Burton's soybean breeding program at ARS' Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Unit in Raleigh has produced many unique lines. Among them are the first soybean to yield a stable oil of higher quality than hydrogenated oil; the only non-transgenic soybean high in desirable monounsaturated fat; another soybean low in saturated fat, and one with very high oil content.

Burton and other ARS scientists will be honored at a 1 p.m. ceremony at the agency's headquarters in Beltsville, Md. As one of four "area senior research scientists" to be recognized, Burton will receive a plaque, a cash award and an additional $15,000 to support his research program.

"To overcome genetic barriers to improving the quality and productivity of soybeans, Dr. Burton has helped meld expertise in molecular genetics, statistics, biochemistry and analytical chemistry into breeding projects that solve problems facing the soybean industry," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS acting administrator.

"He is recognized as a pioneer of new breeding methods and is co-leader of several grants issued by the United Soybean Board to multiple cooperators," Knipling said. "His breeding lines with special fatty acid characteristics and other novel lines were the starting point for all oil quality research under the USB's Better Bean Initiative."

In addition, Burton has produced eight commercial soybean varieties. His most recent release, Satelite, is substantially lower in each of two undesirable fatty acids: palmitic, which can raise blood cholesterol, and linolenic, which can cause a rancid flavor. Satelite also has 50 percent more vitamin E than traditional soybeans.

During his 26-year career with ARS, Burton has directed the research of 11 graduate students, served on 18 other graduate committees and trained four visiting scientists from China and Yugoslavia. He is also a professor of crop science at North Carolina State University and has presented a series of invited seminars on soybean genetics at five institutions in China.

Burton is a member and fellow of both the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy and has served as associate editor of the journal Crop Science.

Previous awards include the ARS Sustained Superior Service Award, Crop Science Research Award and the Soybean Research Award from the American Soybean Association and ICI/Americas.

Burton received his doctorate in genetics from North Carolina State University in 1975. He earned a master of science degree in plant breeding at Iowa State University in 1969 and a bachelor of science degree in botany at the University of Georgia in 1967.

Burton lives in Raleigh with his wife Linda. He grew up in Tifton, Ga., where his father, former ARS plant breeder Glenn Burton, still lives.

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Last Modified: 3/5/2002
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