WASHINGTON, Mar. 7Superb seedless grapes and a new approach to safeguarding the flavor and texture of stored apples have garnered top technology-transfer honors for scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.
Horticulturist David W. Ramming and plant physiologist James P. Mattheis each won ARS' highest technology-transfer honor yesterday during the agency's annual awards ceremony at USDA headquarters here.
"The award acknowledges the scientists' outstanding efforts to move their research out of the laboratory and into the marketplace," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling.
Ramming pioneered the use of a sophisticated laboratory technique known as embryo rescue to nurture the vulnerable, undersized embryos of experimental seedless grapes into strong, new plants. Ramming and his team are based at the ARS San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center near Parlier, Calif.
"Dr. Ramming's expertise has resulted in popular new varieties of delicious red, white and black seedless grapes for fresh-market sale," Knipling said. "Many of the grapes ripen at times of the year when other, U.S.-grown seedless grapes aren't available."
Mattheis directs investigations at the ARS Tree Fruit Research Laboratory at Wenatchee, Wash.
"Dr. Mattheis spearheaded studies that have reduced the use of fungicides previously needed to protect stored apples from rots and other problems," said Knipling. "At the same time, Dr. Mattheis' research has enabled growers to better protect the flavor and texture of stored applesincluding those that, with typical storage treatments, could lose their appeal all too soon."
A sugarcane-processing expert, and members of five research teams that worked on projects ranging from enhancing the shelf life of melons to quelling fire ant invasions, also were honored at Tuesday's ceremony. They are: