Taste, texture and
nutrition of breads and pastas keep improving, thanks to the work of scientists
at the GMPRC. Click the image for more information about it.
Key USDA Grain Lab in Kansas to be
Modernized By Erin
Peabody January 13, 2005
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13A major U.S. Department of Agriculture research center,
where scientists study cereal grains as they move from farm to table, is
celebrating the start of major renovations today.
Marketing and Production Research Center (GMPRC) in Manhattan, Kan., is
operated by the Agricultural Research
Service, USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency. GMPRC conducts
much of its research in cooperation with Kansas
State University, also located in Manhattan.
The roughly $14.8-million renovation is expected to make the aging
facility state-of-the-art again. Four phases of planned updates will provide
the main building with new heating and cooling plants, modern electrical and
plumbing systems and a new roof. Modifications to make the building fully
handicapped-accessible are also scheduled.
"The center's 29 scientists are dedicated to solving problems relating
to the production, harvesting, storage and marketing of the nation's staple
grainslike wheat, corn and sorghum," said ARS Administrator
Strategically located in the nation's "bread basket," GMPRC scientists
develop new technologies to protect and improve U.S. grain production and
products that are important human foods and livestock feeds in both domestic
and international markets.
For example, GMPRC researchers are investigating the best technologies
for detecting the presence of potentially harmful, mold-producing toxins on
grains, according to center director
Koeltzow. They are also seeking new methods to monitor and control
stored-product pests that can invade grain warehouses and consumer pantries.
The center's researchers are screening wheat ancestors and wild
relatives for valuable genes that could provide much-needed resistance against
costly disease and insect threats to wheat. Its cereal chemists have conducted
groundbreaking studies on grain proteins, with the long-term goal of providing
consumers with high-quality, grain-based products that have optimal taste,
functionality and nutrition.
As part of their mission, GMPRC researchers are also focused on
developing effective, user-friendly resources for farmers hoping to conserve
their land and soil in this wind-prone region of the country. Along with
collaborators, they've created the Wind Erosion Prediction systemthe most
cutting-edge model available for forecasting wind erosion.
Senator Pat Roberts has been invited to give the keynote address at
today's ceremony. ARS Northern Plains Area Director
Blackburn will also speak at the ceremony. Invited guests include academic
and research partners, business and agricultural leaders and public officials.
The ARS facility was originally dedicated in 1970 on a 12-acre tract
of land deeded to USDA by the State of Kansas. On the center's grounds are a
60,000-square-foot combined laboratory and office building, pilot plant and
150-foot-high grain elevator.