ARRA - National Agricultural Utilization Research Center, Peoria,
At the NCAUR, ARS researchers find new ways to use
crops like meadowfoam as alternatives to petroleum in many products.
National Agricultural Utilization Research Center, Peoria, Illinois
- Scope of work under Recovery Act
Amount: $40.1 million
Address critical deferred maintenance of mechanical, electrical
and plumbing systems and incidental repairs.
A construction contract has been awarded for about $14.7 million to address
critical deferred maintenance of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
and incidental repairs.
Research at the National Agricultural Utilization Research Center
Work at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR)
focuses on inventing new uses for agricultural crops as both food and
industrial products and to develop new technology to improve environmental
quality and food safety. To do this, researchers call on cutting edge
techniques such as metabolic engineering, fermentation, and processing
Hundreds of commercial products have been developed from the results of more
than 60 years of research, with economic benefits that defy measure. The
investments made in basic and applied research programs continue to generate
new products and technologies that contribute to the public good and
continually improve our quality of life.
NCAUR is the most successful in transferring technology from the laboratory
to the marketplace.
In 2001, NCAUR was designated as an International Historic Chemical Landmark
in recognition of its significant role in the development of mass production of
penicillin. This research has saved countless lives and opened the era of
antibiotics. It was just the first in a long line of global impacts to come
from this laboratory.
Just a few of the many new products that have come from NCAUR:
NCAUR developed a new series of healthful food products that also expanded
markets for U.S. cereal crops. One of them, Calorie-Trim, is an all-natural,
fat replacer. Derived from whole oats and barley, C-Trim contains 20 to 50
percent beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps the body regulate blood sugar
and lower bad cholesterol, diminishing the risk of heart disease. It can also
mimic some of the appealing properties of fat and carbohydrates without
overburdening the body with calories that contribute to diabetes and obesity.
SoyScreen, a biodegradable sunscreen derived from soybean oil, is on its way
to becoming a new commercial product. SoyScreen contains ferulic acid, an
antioxidant found in rice, oats, and other plants, that blocks the sun's rays,
and is both non-polluting and won't wash off in water.
A new vegetable oil-based elevator hydraulic fluid for elevators is now
being used in the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. This new biobased
technology meets all industrial performance standards and has high fire
resistance. It could replace the conventional mineral oil-based product, which
has major flammability, environmental toxicity and disposal problems.
The mission of NCAUR is to:
- Invent new uses of agricultural commodities for industrial and food
- Develop new technology to improve environmental quality and food safety
- Provide technical support to Federal regulatory and action agencies
NCAUR has nine units, each with its own focus:
Bioproducts and Biocatalysis
- Develops new microorganisms and biocatalysts, and improves existing ones,
for use in converting renewable agricultural materials into high-value
Cereal Products and Food Science Unit
- Creates new processing methods to enhance the performance of agricultural
materials in existing applications and develops new products to promote health
using crops such as corn, soybeans, oats, barley and wheat.
Crop Bioprotection Research Unit
- Develops natural biological pest control agents to reduce exposure of the
environment and food supply to potentially harmful chemical pesticides; and
develops means to produce and deliver these control agents in applications.
Fermentation Biotechnology Research Unit
- Creates metabolic engineering technologies to convert agricultural
commodities such as corn and crop residues into biofuels and chemicals, enzymes
Food & Industrial Oil Research Unit
- Modifies the chemical and physical properties of soybean and other
vegetable oils to develop improved quality and functionality of the oils for
use in food and industrial applications.
Microbial Genomics and Bioprocessing Research Unit
- Creates new molecular genetic methods to detect, identify and classify
microorganisms used in the areas of food safety, plant pathology and the
conversion of vegetable oils to value-added products. This unit also manages
and maintains the ARS Microbial Culture Collection, including the ARS Patent
Mycotoxin Research Unit
- Creates strategies to minimize the toxins produced by crop-infecting fungi
in the field and in storage that reduce commodity quality and yield.
New Crops and Processing Technology Research Unit
- Creates viable new agricultural commodities by identifying potential
alternative crops and generating market demand by developing new industrial
products using those crops.
Plant Polymer Research Unit
- Modifies bio-based materials such as polysaccharides and proteins from
corn, and evaluates the structure-property relationships of the modified
materials for use in new applications.
Project Photographs Before Construction
Project Photographs During Construction