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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

News from the Southeast Area

Agency Accomplishments

 

ARS Miami, FL research plant geneticist Alan W. Meerow has been honored by having a new species of cycad weevil named after him.  Rhopalotria meerowi Tang and O’Brien was described from samples sent to the first author of the species, obtained from the male cones of a cycad species native to Jamaica.  The weevil is also known only from Jamaica.  Cycads are ancient seed plants related to pine and ginkgo trees, and most are considered threatened or endangered in habitat.  Cycad weevils have an intimate relationship with cycad species, and are the most important pollinating agents of the plants.  Meerow was recognized for his work on the population genetics of the genus Zamia in the Caribbean region, an important source of ornamental plants in Florida.  The new insect was described in the paper “Revision of the New World cycad weevils of the subtribe Allocorynina, with description of two new genera and three new subgenera (Coleoptera: Belidae: Oxycoryninae)” by Charles W. O’Brien and William Tang (Zootaxa 3970 (1): 001–087, 2015).

Outreach and Professional Activities:

August 3 – 5, 2015 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Leader Richard Byler of the Cotton Ginning Research Unit in Stoneville, MS will be travel to Brownsville, TX, Holcomb, MO, and Blytheville, AR to speak to cotton producers and stockholders on his current work and the results of research being done at the Cotton Ginning Research Unit in Stoneville, MS.

August 3-19, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Hydraulic Engineer Eddy Langendoen of the Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit in Oxford MS has been invited by the School of Civil and Water Resources Engineering, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology to present lectures and conduct research on gully and channel erosion processes in northern Ethiopia.  This is a follow up visit of ongoing collaboration between Dr. Langendoen, Bahir Dar University, and Cornell University to halt gully formation and expansion in the sub humid northern Ethiopian Highlands.

 

August 4-5, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ARS Scientists Kip Balkcom, Dara Boardman, Leah Duzy, and Ted Kornecki of the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, AL will attend the 2015 Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) meeting that will be held in Auburn, AL, August 4-5, 2015. The NUE meeting has been hosted annually for almost 14 years to discuss the latest on NUE research. This is the first year the meeting will be held in the Southeast. Dr. Kip Balkcom will moderate a session during the meeting.

August 4-7, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Horticulturist Chunxian Chen of Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, GA will give two oral presentations, titled “Categorization of Expressed Sequence Tag Microsatellites for Marker Optimization and Genotype Evaluation in Peach” and “Sequencing Analysis of Wood-decay Fungi Associated with Peach Scaffold Breakage” respectively, at the 2015 Annual American Society for Horticultural Science Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

August 1-5, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Plant Pathologist Clive Bock of the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, GA will present 3 posters, " Components of yield in pecan depend on tree height due to the distribution of scab in the canopy", “Development of microsatellite markers for Fusicladium effusum, the causal agent of pecan scab” and “Observation and identification of wood-decay fungi from the heartwood of peach tree limbs in central Georgia, USA” at the American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting in Pasadena, CA.

July 30 - August 6, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Plant Pathologist Yulin Jia with the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center at Stuttgart, AR will attend NP303 workshop and serve as a moderator, and also attend the 2015 annual meeting of American Phytopathological Society (APS), Pasadena, CA.  Dr. Jia will present an update of the project “Novel Strategies for Managing Blast Diseases on Rice and Wheat” funded by USDA NIFA and also will co-chair a special joint symposium of APS and Chinese Society of Plant Pathology on Plant Pathology and Disease Control.  This symposium will provide an overview of research that is being directed towards the identification of major resistance genes, understanding the genetic and molecular bases, and the prospects for their utilization in crop breeding and protection.

August 7, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Plant Pathologist Yulin Jia and his staff members with the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center at Stuttgart, AR will attend and present research accomplishments at the University of Arkansas Rice Expo field day.

August 14-20, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Chemist Huai N. Cheng of the Commodity Utilization Research Unit, Southern Regional Research Center, SRRC, in New Orleans, LA will attend the meetings of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Polymer Chemistry Division Workshop and Program Committees and the ACS International Activities Committees held in Boston, MA.  Cheng will present a talk on “Microwave-assisted synthesis and characterization of polyurethanes from carbohydrates and diisocyanates,” as part of ACS Polymer chemistry Division’s scientific program at the meeting. In addition, he will also serve as a symposium organizer (and session chair) for the Presidential-Recommended symposium on “International Entrepreneurship: How to Start a Business and Thrive in the Global Marketplace.”

August 16–20, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Chemist Sophie Uchimiya of the Commodity Utilization Research Unit, Southern Regional Research Center, SRRC, in New Orleans, LA will attend the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Boston, MA to present "Roles of conjugated double bonds on electron-donating capacity of sorghum grain extracts" and "Surface interaction of gold and fullerene nanoparticles with pyrogenic carbonaceous materials”, and to serve on the Certificate of Merit Committee of the Environmental Chemistry Division.  Sophie Uchimiya will also visit collaborators at the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven, CT.

August 16-20, 2015, Agricultural Research Service, (ARS) SeChin Chang, Research Chemist of the Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research Unit, Southern Regional Research Center, SRRC, in New Orleans, LA will attend the 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition which will be held in Boston, MA.  Chang will be a co-organizer of 'Hydrothermal carbonization: possibilities and limits for feedstocks, processes and applications' session in the division of Environmental Chemistry co-sponsored by Agrochemical Division.

August 28, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Horticulturist Bruce Wood of the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, GA will speak to the Arizona Pecan Growers Association regarding ‘Management of Pecan Alternate Bearing’.  

August 18-20, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Horticulturist Chunxian Chen of Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, GA will attend “Workshop for Microbial Genomics, Microbiomics and Metagenomics” at USDA-ARS Russell Research Center, Athens, GA, hosted by the ARS SEA office.

August 20, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Horticulturalist Donna Shaw of the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS will speak/teach on “Marketing Nutrition of Grapes and Muscadines” at a Grape and Muscadine Shortcourse hosted by MS State University Extension in Verona, MS.   Talks will be followed up by a visit to a local vineyard for hands-on pruning and Q&A session.   

August 23-28, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Research Ecologist Richard Lizotte, of the Water Quality and Ecology Research Unit in Oxford, MS will present ‘Summer water quality associated with hydrologic management in agricultural streams’ at the 4th Biennial Symposium of the International Society for River Science at La Crosse, WI.  This conference is open to the media.

August 27, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Research Ecologist Matt Moore of the Water Quality and Ecology Research Unit in Oxford, MS will provide an invited seminar on recent nutrient and pesticide phytoremediation research to the editorial board of Bulletin of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and field station research scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Reef Systems (UASA) in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.  The meeting is closed to the media.

August 26-Sept 5, 2015, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Research Hydraulic Engineer Eddy Langendoen of the Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit, Oxford, MS is invited to conduct the workshop “2D and 3D Modeling of Flow and River Morphodynamics using TELEMAC” in collaboration with Electricity of France during the 9th Symposium of River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics in Iquitos, Peru from August 28-30, 2015.  He will also attend the Symposium from August 31-September 4, 2015 and present the paper entitled “Experiments on the evolution of supply-limited sand bed forms."

News Clips:

ARS:  Athens, Ga. - Poultry disease is an international issue and developing animals resistant to disease may be one of the long-term solutions.  University of Georgia researchers Steven Stice and Franklin West in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Claudio Afonso at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service have spent the last four years gathering data that could make the process a reality.

The team used a technology platform called shRNA—single strands of RNA that fold back on themselves—to selectively stop the production of nucleic acids that cause disease, such as the Newcastle disease virus.  Dr. Afonso was responsible for the design of the products used to reduce virus replication (gene specific shRNA) and together with his team developed methods to conduct the challenges with virulent viruses and evaluate the results.  Initial experiments were conducted at UGA and final testing and evaluation was done at the BSL3 facilities of U.S. National Poultry Research Center in Athens.

The research team's tooling process for enhancing disease resistance, published recently in the Journal of the International Alliance for Biological Standardization, is potentially a much better way of disease protection than vaccination because it introduces permanent genetic resistance that is transmittable to a bird's offspring. In contrast, many vaccines provide protection for a given period of time and must be re-administered periodically.

Multiple types of animals and disease could be targeted. This technology could also be applied to avian influenza and swine flu.  To read the full story, "Delayed Newcastle disease virus replication using RNA interference to target the nucleoprotein," is available at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1045105615000275.

 



ARS News Articles

A New Vaccine to Fight Poultry Diseases
Mar 20, 2015
A New Spanish Peanut Variety for Consumers, Growers
Feb 24, 2015
Killing Fish Egg Fungus with a Disinfectant
Feb 18, 2015
USDA Research Yields Cotton Resistant to Top 20 Ag Threat
Feb 12, 2015
ARS Study Shows No Damage to Soils from Grazing of Cover Crops
Feb 11, 2015
Last Modified: 8/4/2015