WASHINGTON, Feb. 10Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) were honored Wednesday by their agency for moving a variety of technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace, farm fields, orchards and even backyard gardens, including techniques for controlling fruit flies and development of a new sandwich spread made from roasted sunflower seeds. ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.
The awards were presented at ARS' annual national awards ceremony at USDA headquarters here.
An award for "Outstanding Efforts in Technology Transfer" went to Hawaii-based ARS scientists and their federal and state colleagues for development and dissemination of science-based, environmentally friendly technologies for controlling oriental and Mediterranean fruit fly and other invasive species of tropical fruit flies.
The ARS winners were entomologists Roger I. Vargas and Eric B. Jang and plant pathologist Dennis Gonsalves at the agency's U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center at Hilo, Hawaii, and ARS collaborators Carroll O. Calkins, formerly at Wapato, Wash., and Robert M. Faust, formerly at Beltsville, Md. The other team members were Ronald Mau of the University of Hawaii at Manoa; Stuart H. Stein of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Lyle Wong of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
"Growers and hobbyist gardeners who are trying out these fruit fly control tactics are harvesting unblemished guavas, loquats and other top-quality produce for local and export markets," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling.
Chemist Isabel M. Lima and food technologist Harmeet S. Guraya, both at the ARS Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, La., also won an "Outstanding Efforts in Technology Transfer" award for developing a sunflower-seed spread that offers a flavorful option for children and adults who are allergic to peanuts.
"This sunflower-based product also makes a healthful and delicious addition to yogurt, ice cream, health bars, filled pretzels and other foods," said Knipling.
Lima and Guraya collaborated on development of the spread with Red River Commodities, Inc., of Fargo, N.D., whose SunGold Foods division now offers a line of sunflower-seed-based spreads.
ARS experts honored for "Superior Efforts in Technology Transfer" were: