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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Usaid-Ars Partnership to Combat the Further Spread of Wheat Stem Rust Pathogens
2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Conduct at the Cereal Disease Lab (CDL) in St. Paul, Minnesota extensive research on race-type isolates of wheat stem rust from the developing world to better understand the virulence and spread of the disease in developing countries and to identify new sources of resistance and characterize breeding germplasm.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Increase CDL’s greenhouse capacity and development of increased analytic capacity by up to five-fold to analyze wheat stem rust over the next three years for this effort. The proposed new greenhouse capacity is essential to carry out research on foreign isolates of stem rust and other cereal rusts in a physically isolated facility from the existing greenhouse facility. This will prevent potential contamination. More importantly, this will increase our capacity for race-typing additional collections and increase our capacity for seedling tests in identifying new sources of resistance and in characterizing breeding germplasm. Although the actual number of samples may vary depending upon the scope of surveys in the targeted countries, we anticipate to race-type approximately 500 isolates (derived from ~100 collections) per season, a five-fold increase from the current capacity. We will commit 50% of the new capacity for race-typing samples from Pakistan and Afghanistan, two countries with very limited capacity for in-country race-typing. The remaining capacity will target samples from countries that are critical for monitoring the movement of Ug99 and for capturing the most virulence/genetic diversity of the pathogen. We will also utilize the facility to enhance our research efforts in identifying sources of virulence variations of the stem rust pathogen in eastern Africa. In particular, we will study the potential role of Berberis holstii in generating new races in stem rust and stripe rust pathogens in eastern Africa. This facility will increase our capacity sufficient enough to include seedling tests of breeding germplasm from specific countries, namely Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to facilitate their breeding efforts for Ug99-resistance.


3.Progress Report:

After conducting her market research, the Contracting Officer (CO) on January 31, 2013, awarded a contract to Komada, LLC, of Colorado Springs, CO, as the 8(a) Design Build Contractor (the DBC). Komada’s Architectural-Engineering (A-E) consultant is Merrick & Company. All contract work is to be completed by December 1, 2013. The Final Turnover Submittal was received by the Government and its A-E (Bailey Edward Design, BED), on May 1, 2013. A pre-construction conference was held at the project site on May 8 to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the project team (Komada, Merrick, USDA and BED) during construction. The Notice to Proceed (NTP) of May 3 was issued at the meeting with special emphasis placed on the necessity of all work being completed by mid-November so that the facility would be occupied and fully operational by December 1. Review comments developed by ARS and BED were provided to Komada at the meeting.

Ground was broken by Komada on May 29th; however that day 150 feet of abandoned steam pipes in ductbank were uncovered at the location of the new greenhouse (GH). The suspected asbestos insulation was tested and confirmed. A permit for removal and abatement was needed from Minnesota and was finally obtained (after the mandated 10 day waiting period) on June 19th. Very little other site work could be done until the lines were removed. The GC demolished a storage shed and installed a temporary storm water drainage system to keep the water from the roof from flooding the site. Other site work proceeded. Heavy rain from June 21 to June 28 resulted in the loss of six work days. All excavation work for the headhouse (HH) has been completed. The new catch basin has been installed, and the tie-in to the old one was completed. Work on the HH footings has begun. A conference call was then held to ensure the design review comments were being addressed.

ARS’s Eastern Business Services Center (EBSC) continues to monitor the construction progress of Komada to ensure the project stays on schedule. By the end of September all site work demolition and new site work, the foundation, slab, walls, utility rough-ins and roof of the HH; the foundation, slab, utility rough-ins, and framework of the GH, and the new shed should be completed. The Project Team still believes that the pace of work can be increased so that construction can be substantially complete by November 1, and that the ARS scientists can begin conducting research with Ug99 in the new facility on December 2, 2013.


Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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