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Federal Laboratory Consortium Recognizes ARS Scientists for Tech Transfer
By Erin Peabody
May 5, 2004
WASHINGTON, May 5—Several Agricultural Research Service scientists are being honored in a ceremony in San Diego, Calif., today for their efforts to move federal technology and research out of the lab and into the marketplace. They are winners of the 2004 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer.
"These ARS researchers have contributed to a wide range of technology transfer successes, from the biological control of toxins in cottonseed, to new uses for sunflower seeds and vegetable oil, to areawide management of exotic pests, to efforts to eradicate a serious citrus disease," said Edward B. Knipling, acting administrator for ARS.
Organized in 1974, the FLC is a nationwide network of more than 700 federal laboratories representing almost all federal departments and agencies.
The FLC is presenting a total of 24 awards in today's ceremony. Five of these will be given to ARS researchers, including:
- Peter J. Cotty, plant pathologist, Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, La. To battle the fungal toxins that cost U.S. cottonseed producers millions of dollars each year, Cotty discovered a native strain of the Aspergillus flavus fungus that does not produce potentially carcinogenic toxins. The atoxigenic strains outcompete toxin-producing ones. Cotty helped transfer the technologies to the agricultural community.
- Isabel M. Lima and Harmeet S. Guraya, food technologists, Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, La. The scientists and a commercial partner have developed a sunflower-seed butter that is similar to peanut butter in flavor, texture and appearance. The technology was developed and transferred in cooperation with Red River Commodities, a major sunflower seed producer based in Fargo, N.D.
- Sevim Z. Erhan, chemist, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill. Erhan has developed a novel vegetable-oil-based hydraulic fluid for use in elevators. The product is nontoxic and biodegradable, has high fire resistance and meets all industrial performance standards.
- Exotic Fruit Fly Team, U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii. The ARS center has created the first successful program to control four exotic fruit fly species in Hawaii that cost local growers $300 million dollars each year in damage to crops like papaya, guava, mango and citrus. Under the direction of ARS entomologist Roger I. Vargas, the researchers devised a combination of strategies to control the flies areawide. They have focused on methods that can be taught to local growers.
- Timothy R. Gottwald, research leader, Subtropical Plant Pathology Research Unit, Fort Pierce, Fla. An expert on the epidemiology of tree diseases, Gottwald has led research that is vital to the eradication programs of two important diseases: citrus canker, a bacterial disease that has historically imperiled the Florida citrus industry, and plum pox virus, which threatens the stone fruit industries.
Also being honored in today's ceremony is Peter B. Johnsen, director of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill. He is receiving the FLC Laboratory Director of the Year Award for his leadership and vision in developing new ways to transfer technology from the federal center to the private sector.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.