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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #440481

Research Project: Machine-Buildable Version of the AC-DC Electropenetrograph for Commercialization

Location: Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2034-22000-014-003-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2021
End Date: May 31, 2023

1. Cooperate to advance knowledge of AC-DC electropenetrographs and their manufacturing. 2. Iteratively evaluate as needed the accurate reproduction of waveforms from hemipteran feeding, for the surface mount controller, head stage amplifier(s), and other parts of the electropenetrograph.

This cooperative agreement will follow up a previous, successful Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) (agreement no. 58-2034-8-001). During this recently-completed research, the USDA-patented AC-DC electropenetrograph was significantly upgraded from a hand-built instrument requiring over 1000 hand-solders for construction of the controller, to a machine-buildable instrument using modern, surface-mount, analog circuit boards. This simplifies manufacturing from requiring over 2 months to build, to less than 2 weeks. Although important for commercialization, these upgrades are not patentable, according to an ARS patent agent. The purpose of the present cooperative agreement is to transfer knowledge of how to manufacture the upgraded AC-DC electropenetrographs (including surface-mount controller, head stage amplifiers, power supply, and cables) from USDA ARS (Parlier, CA) and EPG Technologies, Inc. (Gainesville, FL) to Lafayette Instrument Co. (Lafayette, IN), with assistance from Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS). EPG Technologies had previously licensed the patent from USDA, but was no longer able to execute and tendered the license back to the ARS. It is the intent of Lafayette Instrument Co. to take over the manufacturing and commercialization of the instrument from EPG Technologies, Inc., and to license the patent from USDA. The existing AC-DC electropenetrograph is composed of two main parts: 1) the head stage amplifier to which the gold-wire-tethered arthropod is connected, and 2) the control box (or controller), which is connected to the head stage amplifier via 2-m long coaxial cables. The head stage amplifier and wired arthropod are housed, along with the test plant, inside a Faraday cage for noise reduction. The prototype controller and head stage amplifier built during the previous CRADA/Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) will be sent to an ARS Parlier laboratory, where representative hemipterans (e.g., pea aphid and/or blue-green sharpshooter) will be wired up and recordings made. Full wave versus half wave rectification will be compared for effects on waveform appearance. Other comparisons will be made as needed, to fully evaluate the functionality of the new instrument designs. Lafayette will manufacture their own prototype surface mount electropenetrograph. This Lafayette prototype will also be sent to the ARS Parlier laboratory for similar evaluation research.