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Current Research
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January 2008
Why Are Chickens Getting So Fat
The goal of researchers is to learn how the AMPK pathway functions in birds to achieve energy balance, so growers can efficiently produce chickens of optimal weight while minimizing excess fat.

New Cranberry Hybrid High in Antioxidants
Using traditional breeding methods, researchers have created an experimental cranberry line with a high level of absorbable antioxidants.

February 2008
Improving Honey Bee Health
ARS scientists in bee laboratories are uniting to search for answers to the question "What's causing the disappearance of honey bees?"

March 2008
Data that Works for Your Diet
Researchers within three ARS laboratories in particular produce analytical data that is key to development of the Dietary Guidelines: the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory, the ARS Food Composition and Methods Laboratory, and the ARS Food Surveys Research Group. Those laboratories, which are part of the Beltsville [Maryland] Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), develop methods and obtain food-composition data and dietary-intake survey results that are later made public for a variety of uses.

Weighing in on Fats
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans included-for the first time-recommendations that folks in the United States limit their intake of fats and oils that are high in trans fatty acids. Landmark research conducted earlier by scientists at the Beltsville [Maryland] Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) contributed to that conclusion.

April 2008

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) is a winter cover crop used to reduce weed competition and herbicide applications, improve soil quality and tilth, and provide symbiotically fixed nitrogen to nourish crops that follow it. ARS has released a new variety of hairy vetch named "Purple Bounty" that should expand use of vetch throughout the Northeast.

May-June 2008
Colony Collapse Disorder
Because honey bees are critical for agricultural pollination-adding more than $15 billion in value to about 130 crops-especially high-value specialty crops like berries, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, the unexplained disappearance of so many managed colonies was not a matter to take lightly.

July 2008
Making Sure Leafy Greens and Other Produce Stay Safe
Scientists across ARS work to ensure the safety of fresh-cut produce.

Safe Leafy Greens - Before and After Bagging
At the ARS Produce Quality and Safety Laboratory (PQSL) in Beltsville, Maryland, several researchers are focusing on ways to keep leafy greens safe at processing facilities and at home. Their studies range in focus from washing product before bagging to effective storage conditions after bagging.

Bacteriophages as Novel Antimicrobials for Food Safety
Novel antimicrobials could eventually become an asset to the fast-growing fresh-cut produce industry, which provides packaged sliced fruits and bagged salads.

Organic vs. Conventional Production
ARS scientists are studying the prevalence, diversity, and quantity of bacteria associated with organic-as compared to conventionally grown-fresh produce in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

August 2008
Genomics, Phenomics Research Paves the Way for Improved Animal Health and Productivity
The Agricultural Research Service's genomics and phenomics research is laying the foundation for future livestock production improvements. Understanding how inherited characteristics relate to specific genomes will eventually allow researchers to develop tools that can be used to guide animal breeding, selection, and management decisions.

Definitions of Selected Genotypic Terms
For the reader's information, a list of genotypic terms

September 2008
A Family Tree for Toxoplasma
Scientists use DNA to track ancient evolutionary lineages and genetic migrations for a range of animals-including modern humans. ARS zoologist Ben Rosenthal is tracing the family tree of one of the most widespread parasites of warm-blooded vertebrates, Toxoplasma gondii.

October 2008
Assessing Biofuels' Sustainability
Over the past decade, the search for alternative fuels has absorbed increasing amounts of agricultural resources, raising questions about how biofuel production affects U.S. agriculture and consumers.

Power Plants Prevail at the National Arboretum
"Power Plants" is an inventive display of more than 20 different kinds of plants that are now serving or might someday serve as a source of renewable energy in the United States. Some of these-like corn and soybeans-are already well known.

November-December 2008
ARS and Your Holiday Season
The holiday season is a time for social gatherings and feasts that feature family recipes handed down from generation to generation as well as new foods and products derived from agricultural science. The Agricultural Research Service's scientific programs have had a hand in holiday products from the current form of the turkey to the table linens to the festive poinsettia.

January 2005
An Agency Effort to Sequence Genomes
Researchers from around the world are mapping, or have mapped, the genomes of several farm animals. In addition to helping with the study of agriculture, this work may help further the understanding of human health.

December 2004
A Big Stride Toward Healthier Poultry
ARS researchers complete the first chicken intestinal expressed genomic library. It contains gene sequences that will be used to pursue genomic-based control strategies to counter poultry diseases.

November 2004
Stopping the Coffee Berry Borer from Boring into Profits
Entomologist is investigating ways to stop the coffee berry borer from eating holes into coffee beans.

Finding the Fluoride in You
National Fluoride Database launched on the World Wide Web.

September 2004
Revolutionizing Turkey Production: Functional Genomics is the Driving Force
Scientists are using functional genomics to improve reproductive methods used by turkey farmers.

Dainty Plant Outpowers Cadmium-Contaminated Soils
Scientists found that Alpine pennycress, a small plant adorned with delicate, white flowers, can remove a large amount of cadmium from contaminated soil.

August 2004
An Inside Job: Using Nematodes' Own Biology Against Them
Scientists are looking within for environmentally friendly ways to battle nematodes. Within the nematode, that is.

June 2004
Researchers Produce Innovation in Dietary Recall
Food Surveys Research Group (FSRG) has developed a method for achieving nearly total recall-at least for what's been eaten.

April 2004
Insulin Imitators: Polyphenols Found in Cinnamon Mimic Job of Hormone
ARS scientists and colleagues have isolated and characterized several polyphenolic polymer compounds from cinnamon bark that could one day become natural ingredients in products aimed at lowering blood sugar levels.

March 2004
Mycologists Help Guard U.S. Borders
Fungi experts help to shield American agriculture from harmful pests.

December 2003
On the Lookout for Scaley Invaders

November 2003
50th Anniversary Issue

October 2003
Farming Without Harming
Science Update
    Nutrient Database to Go

September 2003
Moon Cake, Anyone?
Brewing Up the Latest Tea Research

August 2003
The Weed Saver
Composting - Improving on a Time-tested Technique

July 2003
Plastic Mulch, Harmful or Helpful
Science Update
     Soda Pop Tops Teen Beverage Choices