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'
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
"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
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
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.