1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this Agreement is the technical, financial and material cooperation for the execution of the actions of the Embrapa´s Virtual Laboratory in the United States (LABEX-USA), for which the following is indispensable: 1.1. the development of a set of research projects of mutual interest, it being understood that these include research projects carried out in cooperation with direct participation of Embrapa and USDA-ARS researchers, and research projects of interest to Embrapa and as agreed by USDA-ARS, developed as a result of the work of Embrapa’s researchers, and in conformity with the laws, regulations, and policies of both countries; 1.2. the provision, by USDA-ARS to Embrapa, of logistical and scientific (physical and bibliographic; electronic, computer and other similar equipment) support, of the development of research projects of mutual interest referred to in sub item 1.1 above; 1.3. the provision, by USDA-ARS of necessary facilities for scientific research by Embrapa and to seek cooperative projects of mutual interest with other federal agencies and universities engaged in agricultural research and technology as relevant and mutually agreed to; 1.4. the provision by Embrapa for the transference to USDA-ARS of all necessary financial resources for operation of LABEX; 1.5. the agreement by USDA-ARS to effectively manage financial resources provided by Embrapa for the operation of LABEX; and
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Produce technology and knowledge of value to ARS and EMBRAPA in the broad areas of plant and animal sciences, soil science, agriculture and other additional fields (genomics, genetic resources, biobased products, food safety nanotechnology).
3. Progress Report
In FY2011, the following long term senior scientist Labex positions were in place: 1) genetic resources preservation at the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources and Preservation in Ft. Collins, CO (ending November 2011); 2) animal health at the Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, Beltsville, MD (started March 2011); 3) Labex Coordinator & soil carbon dynamics and reactivity at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, Beltsville, MD (ending December 2011); 4) soybean drought stress biotechnology at the Plant Gene Expression Center, Albany, CA. The last Labex position to be filled in 2011 will arrive in the early Fall and work in bioactive compounds and functional nutrients from fruits at Texas A&M University. Labex researchers are coordinating 11 other Embrapa researchers working in the US as a part of the Labex research theme, forming clusters, the largest of which is in Ft. Collins with six (and two Brazilian University researchers). During FY2011, Labex was able to facilitate the first ARS (and US Forest Service) “reverse-Labex” participant to be able to work in Brazil at Embrapa for a 1-year project. Embrapa and Brazil have become destinations for international researchers seeking reverse seasonality capability in well staffed and equipped facilities. ARS and Embrapa also continued a second year of active germplasm exchange through the efforts of the participants from both agencies as well as established methods for in-vitro vegetative cryopreservation of cassava which can be applied to other similar plants as well as methods to transfer sugar cane germplasm through use of in-vitro propagation methods that eliminate phytosanitary concerns. 1165 germplasm accession came from Embrapa in the past year: 88 peanut; 3 coffee; 20 cowpea; 265 common bean; 4 soybean; 755 pine; 30 grape; 585 cattle and goat DNA samples. New research themes in bioenergy were explored with the opening of a new Embrapa research facility dedicated to conversion technologies. Embrapa’s Agroenergy Research Director was able to meet and visit with ARS researcher representing 6 laboratories as well the ARS National Program Leader for Bioenergy was able to tour the new facilities and participate in a feedstock development conference in Brazil, facilitated by ARS. New opportunities will be realized as the new Embrapa center becomes fully operational.