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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Beck, John J
Research Leader
(352) 374-5730
1700 S.W. 23RD DRIVE
Gainesville FL 32608

The primary mission of the Chemistry Research Unit is to identify, understand, and manipulate the chemistry and chemical communication of plant/insect, plant/microbe, and insect/microbe interactions that control, regulate, or modify insect and/or microbial behavior. Utilizing their expertise in chemistry, entomology, chemical ecology, bioinformatics, molecular biology, genetics, and plant physiology, scientists of the Chemistry Research Unit are able to investigate plant/insect/microbe interactions from a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the overall ecology of an agricultural system. In addition to considering the biotic pests of agricultural systems, Chemistry Research Unit scientists further investigate the effect of abiotic stressors on complex plant/insect/microbe interactions. The ultimate goal of our research is to develop new, environmentally safe methods for practical control of insect pests and microbial pests, as well as understanding the plant’s response to induced biotic and abiotic stressors. Projects currently under investigation include: control of Varroa mites and small hive beetle on honey bees; beneficial nematodes as biocontrol agents; molecular response of maize for defense against armyworm; plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA)-deficient maize lines for studying the interactions between biotic and abiotic stressors; and, the use of microbes to influence the volatile signaling of nectar to pollinators.

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