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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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ARRA - Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit, Aberdeen, Idaho

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Link to ARS Recovery Act Info.

Link to USDA Recovery Act Info.

Link to White House's site.

Photo: Researchers examine wheat plants in a stem rust screening plot at Aberdeen, Idaho.

ARS researchers are screening the National Small Grains Collections for genes that could give U.S. wheats and barleys resistance to Ug99, a new stem rust that overcomes all previous stem rust resistance.

Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit, Aberdeen, Idaho

  • Scope of work under Recovery Act

Amount: $40,000

Repair of critical deferred maintenance including replacing deteriorated roofing systems on Buildings 102 and 103.

Milestones - To be updated as milestones are completed.

Construction Photos

Research at the Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit

The Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit safeguards the genebank collection of wheat, barley, oats, and other cereal grains and distribute samples to thousands of researchers annually. The collection contains a valuable reservoir of seeds and genetic materials to protect our agricultural heritage and ensure the security of our Nation’s food supply.

For example, when Ug99, a new stem rust to which all U.S. wheat and most barley is vulnerable, ARS researchers screened the National Small Grains Collections for genes that could give U.S. wheats and barleys resistance. The sources they found are now being bred into commercial wheats and barleys to ensure that UG99 does not destroy our domestic wheat supply.

Research Units

National Small Grains Collection

The National Small Grains Collection is an active germplasm collection (or genebank) that maintains collections representing global diversity of the small grains; including wheat (Triticum), barley (Hordeum), oat (Avena), rice (Oryza), rye (Secale), triticale (X Triticosecale), and various wild relatives (including Aegilops).

The National Small Grains Collection freely distributes seed to scientists worldwide. Passport and evaluation data are maintained on the Germplasm Resources Information Network

Potato Research Unit

The Potato is the number one vegetable crop in the United States, but commercial varieties are highly susceptible to a number of diseases, pests, and environmental stresses. The mission of the Potato Research Unit is to

  • Improve tuber qualities to increase long term storability and processing recovery
  • Incorporate combined genetic resistance to major field and storage diseases and pests, such as late blight, verticillium wilt, viruses, (particularly the newer strains of PVY), aphids, wireworm, Colorado potato beetle, and Columbia root-knot nematode
  • Improve production efficiency and reducing sensitivity to environmental stress thereby reducing water, fertilizer and pesticide needs
  • Improve the nutritional quality of the potato for the consumer
  • Evaluate wireworm resistant material using HPLC-MS analyses to determine specific compounds that may confer resistance. Identified compound(s) can then be screened in early-generation evaluations of germplasm for presence (resistance) and absence(susceptibility), thereby accelerating the development of wireworm resistant potato cultivars,
  • Characterize environmental conditions conducive for the expression of potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease caused by Potato Virus Y (PVY) necrotic strains. In addition a standard protocol will be developed to screen advanced breeding selections for development of necrotic tuber symptoms. Resistance to the viral infection and/or development of necrotic symptoms in tubers will be identified. Resistant germplasm will then be used in the further development of potato varieties

Barley & Oat Research Unit

The Barley & Oat Research Unit's mission is generate improved strains of potato, small grains, and rainbow trout using the tools of modern science. They also maintain, evaluate, and distribute germplasm stocks from our National Small Grains Collection as well as seek to increase production efficiency in rainbow trout through the use of grain-based feeds and increased knowledge of trout physiology and nutrition.

Grain Chemistry Genetics Unit

The mission of the Grain Chemistry Genetics Unit is to develop genetic resources necessary for improving cereal nutrition quality or other end-use qualities, especially for use in human foods and animal feed . An important objective is the transfer of newly developed genetic technology to public and private groups in order to enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of agricultural production, and quality of agricultural products.

The current focus is on improving grain phytic acid, phosphorus, and mineral nutritional qualities. Humans and non-ruminant animals (poultry, swine and fish) use only a small portion of the phosphorus in cereal grains–only that which is not found as phytic acid, the major form of phosphate in seeds. This results in waste excretion of phosphates that contribute to water pollution. So the Unit has a goal of developing new crop genetic resources with lower total phosphorus or phytic acid levels.

Project Photographs Before Construction

Building 103, modular, repairs to be done in Aberden Building 102 "Headhouse" repairs in Aberden

Project Photographs During Construction

Last Modified: 9/3/2015
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