Products from NCAUR
The development of penicillin and other scientific contributions set an early standard of research excellence at NCAUR. Following are a few of the results that are more easily recognized for their global and enduring impact.
- Penicillin: Large-scale commercial production of penicillin during the 1940s opened the era of antibiotics and is recognized as one of the great advances in civilization. Discovering how to mass-produce the drug occurred in the U.S. -- at the Peoria lab.
- Dextran: Anyone ever having an IV has benefited from Dextran, a blood-volume extender first administered intravenously to Korean War battle casualties.
- Xanthan gum: Found in nearly every bottle of salad dressing and many other products on grocery shelves because of its ideal thickening properties, Xanthan gum is also used to extend the life of gas and oil wells.
- High fructose corn syrup: Scientists at NCAUR were the first to report the immobilization of glucose isomerase enzyme, a technique that was later adopted by industry for production of high-fructose syrups from corn sugars.
- Corn-soy-milk (CSM) blend: NCAUR conducted much of the research on fortified foods, developing a process to convert corn and other whole grains to shelf-stable flours with improved nutritional quality. CSM is a blended food supplement used by the Food for Peace Program; some developing countries have copied the formulas and manufacture their own blends.
- Super Slurper: The starch co-polymer technology found in disposable baby diapers revolutionized super absorbents and resulted in the development of multiple industries representing billions of dollars per year.
- Oatrim: Creation of a highly effective method to increase the soluble fiber content in foods has resulted in four hugely successful technologies; beginning with Oatrim, each has contributed to improved foods and greater global health.
- Ethanol research: NCAUR research has provided key discoveries in the commercial biofuels industry, generating improvements that have been widely adopted by grain-alcohol distillers to reduce production costs.
- Mycotoxin research: Mycotoxin detection technologies developed at NCAUR have been transferred via licensing agreements to more than 30 companies in the private sector. The widespread use of these technologies helps to ensure the safety of the US food supply, facilitates export of U.S. grain, improves on-farm earnings, and promotes job growth in agriculture and biotechnology.
- Microbial Isolates: ARS scientists in Peoria, Illinois, facilitated a wide variety of microbiological research through curation of the 98,000 microbes in the ARS Culture Collection, and facilitated technological innovation by enabling scientists to simultaneously fulfill microbial culture deposition requirements in association with patent applications in the United States and internationally. During the last 12 months, 4,800 microbial isolates were distributed from the ARS Culture Collection in response to requests from scientists in the United States and 41 other countries. Using a conservative estimate of monetary value, these strain distributions represent a roughly $1,000,000 in-kind contribution in support of scientific research and innovation. The broad impact of this work is evidenced by the fact that microbial isolates from the ARS Culture Collection have been used in more than 6,800 patents and 57,000 scientific publications.
- New crops and processing research: Researching oilseeds from around the world has led to new products from specialty crops, such as paper from kenaf, cosmetics from jojoba and meadowfoam and alternative rubber from guayule.
- Soybeans in Food: Researchers developed new technologies that led to the development of soybean oil with improved flavor quality and stability, ability for use in high-temperature cooking, and new soybean plant lines which produce soybean oil with a longer shelf life.
- Soybeans in Industry: NCAUR scientists have expanded the uses of soybean oil and its derivatives to include their use as: hot-melt adhesives for shoe soles, bookbinding's, solders to close seams in cans and packaging, moisture-proof coatings and paints for porous surfaces; in the production of nylon 9, a tough plastic especially suited for use in electrical insulation and gears, bearings, cams and similar parts; additives to extreme-pressure lubricants for crankcase or transmission oils, cutting or extruding oils and continuous steel casting lubricants.