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Research Projects and their Descriptions
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(Research Results are listed under Products & Services)


Microbial Approaches to Enhance Biological, Chemical and Physical Properties of Soil

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-12000-025 Description and Annual Report

Investigators:  Jeffrey S. Buyer (Lead) 100%, Sara E. Wright 100%.
Support Staff:  Stan Tesch

        Develop improved methods to characterize soil microbial communities, including high-sensitivity analysis of fatty acid methyl esters, substrate utilization and MPN assays for chemolithotrophs and anaerobes, use of ecologically relevant carbon sources in the substrate utilization assay for heterotrophs, and fatty acid analysis of substrate utilization assay cultures. Study the interactions between soil, root, seed, and microbial communities and develop strategies to improve colonization of root and seed by beneficial microorganisms. Define the structure of glomalin. Determine the effects of management practices on mycorrhiza and glomalin, and the effects of glomalin and mycorrhiza on soil chemical and physical properties.


Biological Technologies as Alternatives to Chemicals for Control of Soilborne Pathogens

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-21220-176 Description and Annual Report

Investigators:  Daniel P. Roberts (Lead) 80%, Patricia D. Millner 40%, Aref A. Abdul-Baki 20%
Support Staff:  Sally Reynolds, Laurie McKenna

       Develop biological controls for important soilborne pathogens of tomato, pepper, cucumber, and strawberry. Determine factors important in the introduction, establishment, and persistence of biocontrol agents in various rhizosphere environments. Develop compost management technologies to improve suppression of soilborne pathogens of strawberry, tomato, pepper, and cucumber. Develop a reduced-tillage, low input system as an alternative to methyl bromide for winter production of fresh-market tomatoes and Bell pepper in Florida.


Enhancement of High Value Cropping Systems
through Management of Cover Crops

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-12210-001 Description and Annual Report

Aref A. Abdul-Baki (Lead) 60%, Thomas E. Devine 100%, Donald T. Krizek 100%, C. Benjamin Coffman 25%, John R. Teasdale 25%, Daniel P. Roberts 20%
Support Staff:  Dave Clark, Peter Ewashkow, Ruth Mangum

       Develop cover crop management practices to optimize efficient nitrogen release for vegetable production. Determine whether cover crops can be integrated with season-extending high tunnels to maximize production and profit potential of high-value crop production. Determine rhizosphere communities on tomato plants grown in hairy vetch and rye cover crops. Breed and evaluate new cultivars of (a) hairy vetch for use as a cover crop, (b) tall, large-seeded vegetable soybean cultivars for small farmers, and (c) grain type soybeans with enhanced crop residue production to reduce soil erosion. Develop low-input, no-tillage cover cropping systems for date palm orchards of southeast California and for sugar apple orchards of subtropical Florida.


Long-Term Field Experiment to Evaluate Sustainability of Organic and Conventional Cropping Systems

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-21660-002 Description and Annual Report

Michel A. Cavigelli (Lead) 100%, Yao-Chi Lu 70%, C. Benjamin Coffman 25%, John R. Teasdale 25%, Patricia D. Millner 20%
Support Staff:  Mark Davis, Anne Conklin, Linda Jawson, Ruth Mangum, Steve Green, Beth Hima

       Evaluate crop performance, soil fertility, soil quality, weed population dynamics and other measures of agronomic performance among five cropping systems in a long-term agricultural research project, the Farming Systems Project (FSP). Determine and understand mechanisms controlling carbon (C), nitrogen (N) , and phosphorus (P) dynamics, losses, and retention among five cropping systems in the FSP and in a forested site. Understand the processes controlling soil biological activity and community structure among five cropping systems in the FSP. Predict the long-term sustainability of FSP cropping systems for economic viability and environmental protection under current and future environmental and economic scenarios.


Development of Biologically Based Control Methodologies for Weeds in Agricultural and Natural Areas

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-22000-164 Description and Annual Report

John Lydon (Lead) 100%, C. Benjamin Coffman 50%, John R. Teasdale 50%
Support Staff:  Cheryl Patterson, Ruth Mangum

       To develop microbial herbicides to control important agricultural and invasive weeds and ecologically based weed management strategies for sustainable and organic production systems. Biological Control of Weeds - An Introduction

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Processes of Underlying Vegetable Nutrient Content, Shelf-Life & Stress Tolerance

Link to NPS Site for Project 1265-21000-139 Description and Annual Report

Investigators:  Autar Mattoo (Lead) 100%
Support Staff:
  Tahira Fatima, Muhamet Topuz

The goals of this research are to develop:basic information critical for developing vegetable crops for longer shelf life, better nutritional quality, and the ability to withstand environmental extremes; knowledge of mechanisms that regulate calcium accumulation in potato tuber under natural growth conditions. Includes genetic manipulation of anti-oxidant levels in vegetable crops (e.g., tomato) and increasing the ability of the potato plant to sequester calcium in the interior tissue of the tuber.