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Mark A Berhow

Research Chemist


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Phone: (309) 681-6347
Fax: (309) 681-6685
Room 3317
USDA ARS NCAUR
1815 N University St
Peoria, IL 61604

Biography and Research

Mark Berhow has worked as research chemist at ARS in Peoria since 1994 and with ARS since 1983. Mark received a B.Sc. in life sciences from the University of Portland, Oregon, in 1977. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington in 1984. His research interests include the examination of the processes involved in the biosynthesis and accumulation of biologically active plant secondary metabolites or “phytochemicals.” In Peoria, he has continued his work on analytical methods for the identification and quantification of secondary metabolites in plants, which can be used as biologically active chemicals for pest control, food additives, or pharmacological uses. The project team he leads specializes in the identification, isolation, and analysis of phytochemicals from plants and plant products, such as the isoflavones and saponins from soy and the glucosinolates from the crucifer species, and assessing their functional activity in biological systems. The goals of this project are (1) to develop accurate analytical methodology and rapid non-destructive spectrophotometric analytical methods to rapidly assess the levels of specific phytochemicals in seeds, tissues, and processed products, and (2) to develop new uses for low value agricultural waste and co-products, under-utilized plant species. The objectives are to provide new research findings on plant secondary metabolism and the interaction of these compounds with other plants, insects, and in animals and humans that consume them. His recent work has centered on the development of rapid and accurate methods to identify and measure a variety of phytochemicals from a variety of plant tissues and products.