Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

ARRA - National Agricultural Utilization Research Center, Peoria, Illinois

Contractor Information

Related Links

Link to ARS Recovery Act Info.

Link to USDA Recovery Act Info.

Link to White House's site.

Photo: Chemist George Fanta prepares to make the Fantesk.
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.

Construction Photos

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 technologies.

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:

  1. Invent new uses of agricultural commodities for industrial and food products
  2. Develop new technology to improve environmental quality and food safety
  3. 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 bioproducts.

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 and polymers.

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 Culture Collection.

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

Failing lab mechanical equipment Indicative of failed lab plumbing systems
Outdated laboratory exhaust system

Project Photographs During Construction

Last Modified: 7/3/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page