Group Title: Agricultural research (Washington, D.C.)
Title: Agricultural research
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 Material Information
Title: Agricultural research
Uniform Title: Agricultural research (Washington, D.C.)
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 25-28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Science and Education Administration
United States -- Agricultural Research Administration
United States -- Agricultural Research Service
Publisher: Science and Education Administration, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture :
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Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., distributor
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: December 1997
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Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
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Statement of Responsibility: U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1953).
Issuing Body: Vols. for Jan./Feb.-Nov. 1953 issued by: Agricultural Research Administration; Dec. 1953-<Sept. 1976> by: Agricultural Research Service; <June 1979>-June 1981 by: the Science and Education Administration; July 1981- by: the Agricultural Research Service.
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 27, no. 7 (Jan. 1979).
General Note: Latest issue consulted: Vol. 46, no. 8 (Aug. 1998).
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Bibliographic ID: UF00074949
Volume ID: VID00012
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - ABP6986
oclc - 01478561
alephbibnum - 000271150
lccn - agr53000137
issn - 0002-161X

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FORUM


To Restore the
Everglades,
It Takes Teamwork
Each year, agricultural production
contributes billions to Florida's econ-
omy. That one state is the nation's
chief source of citrus and provides
about 70 percent of winter and spring
vegetables. Sugarcane, rice, ornamen-
tals, and other valuable crops also
thrive there-especially in the south,
where favorable weather, unique soils,
and managed water supply make for
especially high productivity.
But there has been a downside to
this prodigious success. The extensive
system of dikes, levees, and canals
constructed earlier in the century to
provide flood protection and regulate
the water supply has also altered pat-
terns of waterflow through south Flor-
ida's diverse ecosystems.
The health of Everglades National
Park and other conservation and wild-
life refuge areas, as well as of Florida
Bay, is seen to be in serious trouble.
Nutrient runoff from crop, livestock,
and dairy operations into waterways
has led to massive algae blooms and
changed the composition of biological
communities in affected areas. Sub-
sidence, or disappearance of soil as a
result of microbial action on the or-
ganic matter in drained wetlands, is
another vexing problem.
Added to this mix of serious eco-
logical threats are several non-native
pest plants that have gained a foothold
in south Florida. They are not subject
to the natural controls present in their
countries of origin.
The "Save Our Everglades" initia-
tive enacted in 1983 by Florida poli-
cymakers was the first attempt to ad-
dress problems over the entire Ever-
glades ecosystem. The 1987 passage
of the Surface Water Improvement
and Management Act created five re-
gional water management districts.
1991 saw the Florida legislature's Ev-


erglades Protection Act, which facili-
tated cooperation among regional,
state, and local agencies.
The effort took on national impor-
tance in 1993. A 5-year agreement
signed then by the federal Depart-
ments of Agriculture, Commerce, the
Interior, Justice, and Transportation-
along with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers-established an inter-
agency federal task force to coordinate
consistent policies, plans, programs,
and priorities in south Florida.
Next, the Florida legislature enact-
ed the landmark Everglades Forever
Act in May of 1994. It established
new water quality and delivery goals
and a mechanism for coordinating
Everglades-related activities. The fol-
lowing year, the federal task force was
expanded to include the state of Flori-
da, Native American tribes, and the
Governor's Commission for a Sustain-
able South Florida.
Now state and federal agencies
with management and/or regulating
responsibilities are working together,
and with many private cooperators, to
restore and maintain the ecological
richness and species diversity of
South Florida.
The goal of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's strategic plan for south
Florida is to maintain a profitable ag-
ricultural economy while developing
strategies that contribute to a healthy
ecosystem and sustainable communi-
ties. The plan has five main elements:
land and water management, science,
infrastructure, land acquisition, and
public information and education.
USDA believes that, properly man-
aged, south Florida agriculture can
contribute to the restoration and main-
tenance of the area ecosystem. Agri-
culture is a major source of support
and revenue for restoration efforts.
Agricultural lands also contribute to
ground and surface water storage and
recharge, filtration, nutrient uptake,
buffer areas and wildlife habitat, nox-
ious weed control, and more.


The Agricultural Research Service
is an important component of the sci-
ence element of USDA's strategic
plan. The agency's scientific expertise
plays a key role in developing technol-
ogies to achieve the ultimate goal of
agricultural, economic, and ecological
sustainability.
For example, ARS entomologists
are cooperating in the search for means
to stall the spread of melaleuca-a per-
sistent woody plant pest aggressively
invading Florida's wetlands. Since nei-
ther herbicidal controls nor field burn-
ing has proved to be effective, labor-
intensive hand pulling and cutting have
been the primary control methods.
Now, ARS scientists have tested and
released a promising biological control
insect and are evaluating other candi-
dates, as well as integrated weed man-
agement programs and revegetation
with desirable plant species.
ARS plant breeders have a different
role to play in shoring up both agricul-
ture and natural Everglades ecosys-
tems. Some are looking at modifying
sugarcane so it needs less phosphorous
fertilizer to thrive-or even develops a
capacity to remove excess phosphorus
from the soil. And breeding plants that
will tolerate higher water tables might
eventually reduce soil subsidence and
make it possible to produce crops in a
manner that actually enhances the en-
vironment.
A budgetary increase for fiscal year
1998 has been identified for both
melaleuca and sugarcane projects, as
well as for water quality and manage-
ment research. A new ARS hydrolo-
gist will be working with federal and
state agencies and the agricultural
community to define the risk of flood-
ing in Dade County and recommend
improvements in the south Florida wa-
ter delivery system to sustain agricul-
ture and protect the Everglades Na-
tional Park.

Dale A. Bucks
ARS National Program Leader for
Water Quality and Water Management
Agricultural Research/December 1997







December 1997
Vol. 45, No. 12
ISSN 0002-161X


AgriculturalResearchispublishedmonthlyby
the Agricultural Research Service, U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
20250-0301.
The Secretary of Agriculture has determined
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Dan Glickman, Secretary
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I. Miley Gonzalez, Under Secretary
Research, Education, and Economics
Floyd P. Horn, Administrator
Agricultural Research Service
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Editor: Lloyd McLaughlin (301) 344-2514
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Agricultural Research



Aussie Weevil Opens Attack on Rampant Melaleuca 4

Changing Sugarcane To Aid the Everglades 8

Sprinkler Head Matches Waterflow to Soil Needs 11

Corn Fiber Yields Oil and Gum Products 12

Imported Wasps Work Well as Biological Controls 14

New Safeguards Against Glycoalkaloids 16

T-Cell Testing Made Easy 1 0

Phony Pheromone Foils Gypsy Moth Males 20

Science Update 21

1997 Index 22


leuca leai 1in sKirillsn-iine iasnlon.
Photo by Jason Slanley. (K7873-3)


Ifomnation Staff.
U.S. DepartnMent tural Resea e
o1-,.344.23.r ofAo@ars-grin. ev


Agricultural Research/December 1997













H ardworking insects import-
ed from Australia to attack
melaleuca trees may help
stop this weed from overrunning
Florida's Everglades.
Native to Australia, melaleuca has
successfully invaded more than a
half-million acres in central and
southern Florida since the early
1900s. The trees take over an esti-
mated average of 14 to 15 acres a
day, threatening to destroy the
delicate Everglades ecosystem.
Agricultural Research Service
scientists and cooperators freed the
grey-brown melaleuca leaf weevil,
Oxyops vitiosa, for the first time in
the United States this year, turning
loose about 1,600 of the short-
snouted insects at 11 key melaleuca-
infested sites in Florida. Their work
marks the first time that any
melaleuca-munching organism has
ever been used in this country for
classical biological control; that is,
the use of one introduced organism to
control another.
The weevil's U.S. debut resulted
from more than a decade of scrutiny
by ARS scientists based in Australia
and Florida. Their outdoor investiga-
tions in Australia-and laboratory
and greenhouse tests both there and
in Florida-showed that the quarter-
inch-long weevil would not eat
desirable plants on farms or in
gardens, nurseries, and parks. Those
experiments included not only testing
on melaleuca relatives like bottle-
brush and eucalyptus, but also on
fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and many
native plants.
Weevil adults and grubs, or larvae,
feed voraciously on melaleuca's
young, silvery leaves. This stunts the
plant's growth and leaf production,
says entomologist Ted D. Center,
who is in the ARS Aquatic Weed
Control Research Unit at Fort Lau-
derdale. He directs Florida studies


Agricultural Research/December 1997









SUSAN WINERITER (K7873-7)


that now include careful monitoring
of the weevil's success in colonizing
the state's melaleuca groves.

More of a Good Thing
Scientists want to augment the
weevils with other industrious
insects. The most promising candi-
dates include four additional species
native to Australia: a beneficial
sawfly, a sap-feeding psyllid (SILL-
id), a tube-dwelling moth, and a gall-
forming fly. ARS scientists are the
first to extensively study the potential
of this quartet of little-known insects
to thwart melaleuca-and only
melaleuca.
These rigorous tests garnered the
first-ever federal and state approvals
to ship the sawfly and psyllid to
Florida for indoor study at the
Gainesville lab. It's a high-security
quarantine site, meaning that test
insects can't sneak outdoors. Ento-
mologist Gary R. Buckingham of the
ARS Aquatic Weed Control Research
Unit heads the Gainesville studies.

Portrait of the Enemy
Known to botanists as Melaleuca
quinquenervia, this invasive pest is
native to Australia and a few neigh-
boring islands. Layers of paper-thin
bark give the weed its "paperbark
tree" nickname. Thirsty and fast-
growing, melaleuca was brought to
this country in 1906 and widely
planted, in an attempt to dry up
Florida marshes and swamps. It is not
a pest in Australia.
A mature melaleuca tree produces
millions of brownish-black seeds
every year, each about the size of a
pepper grain. Even if only a few of
these seeds sprout, vigorous melaleu-
ca saplings can quickly crowd out
native plants, says entomologist
Joseph K. Balciunas. Now at the
ARS Western Regional Research
Center in Albany, California, Balciu-

Agricultural Research/December 1997


nas is former director of the ARS
Biological Control Laboratory at
Townsville, Australia.
While there, he led pioneering
investigations that revealed biological
control candidates. Balciunas did this
work for ARS from 1989 to 1995
with co-researchers Matthew F.
Purcell and Peter K. Jones of Austra-
lia's CSIRO, or Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research
Organization, in Brisbane; and
Damien W. Burrows of the Austra-
lian Center for Tropical Freshwater
Research, James Cook University,
Townsville, Australia.
The ARS lab-now headquartered
in Brisbane and previously in Towns-
ville at James Cook University-is
jointly operated by ARS and CSIRO.
Balciunas was succeeded as lab
director in 1996 by Charles W.
Turner, an ARS research botanist
who died in 1997.

The Agents' Modus Operandi
Biological control researchers
agree that the insect most likely to
follow the melaleuca leaf weevil may
be the sawfly Lophyrotoma zonalis.
Larvae of this aggressive herbivorous
insect have a hearty appetite for
tough old melaleuca foliage.
Each inch-and-a-quarter-long
sawfly larva "has a tiny horn on its
back, making it look something like a
little hornworm caterpillar," says
Buckingham. His greenhouse tests
demonstrated that a troop of 100
sawfly larvae can destroy every leaf
on a 10-foot-high melaleuca sapling
in only 3 or 4 days.
Melaleuca's clear sap makes a
nutritious meal for a sap-sucking
insect known as Boreioglycaspis
melaleucae, or melaleuca psyllid.
Psyllids are also called jumping plant
lice because the highly active adults,
which resemble miniature cicadas,
jump between leaves and plants when
alarmed.


An adult melaleuca psyllid female rests on
a melaleuca leaf inside a Florida
quarantine laboratory.


Melaleuca psynia nympns are partiany
covered by waxy filaments that they form
as protection against predatory insects.


In a quarantine facility, colonies of
melaleuca psyllid nymphs feed on
melaleuca saplings, sometimes killing them.












Both the adults and young, or
nymphs, feed on melaleuca sap.
Nymphs cause the most harm,
severely damaging seedlings. In tests
conducted by Balciunas, Purcell, and
Jones, it took about 500 nymphs only
a week or two to cause leaves of
potted melaleuca saplings to begin
curling and withering. After about a
month of this onslaught, some
besieged saplings died.
Psyllid nymphs, says Balciunas,
typically form a communal shelter of
delicate white threads. These house


system of sturdy, quarter-inch tubes.
They loosely drape the tubes with a
whitish-brown webbing. Strong and
somewhat like spun silk, the webbing
anchors the colony to melaleuca
branches. The busy larvae venture
from the tubes to gather melaleuca
leaves, which they attach to the web-
bing. A typical network of tubes and
webbing may be up to 6 inches long
and 4 inches across and may accom-
modate at least a half-dozen larvae.
A swelling called a gall makes a
cozy home for another kind of


JEFF LOTZ, FDACS, DPI (K7872-18)


Melaleuca leaf weevils, Oxyops vitiosa, were
released this year in the Florida Everglades
as a biological control of melaleuca trees.


JASON STANLEY (K7873-11)


.0 -


At the ARS Aquatic Weed Control Research Unit in Gainesville, Florida,
Australian researcher Matthew Purcell (left) and ARS entomologist Gary Buckingham
examine growth of young melaleuca plants.


dozens of nymphs, making it easy for
scientists to find and collect the
insects for lab tests there or in
Florida.
The leaf-eating larvae of a tube-
dwelling moth called Poliopaschia
lithochlora "do a competent job of
attacking and destroying melaleuca
saplings," says Burrows.
To defend themselves, larvae live
in colonies, building an elaborate


melaleuca herbivore. Immature gall-
forming flies, members of the genus
Fergusonina, share space inside the
gall with wriggly microscopic worms
called nematodes. The organisms
may work together to form the
typically conical galls on the tips of
melaleuca branches.
"Fully developed galls are usually
about the size of a marble," says
researcher Purcell at Brisbane. "Galls


A melaleuca sawfly adult prepares to
deposit eggs on a melaleuca leaf.



disrupt flower and seed production
because they form where the tree
would normally produce new flow-
ers." Adult gall flies resemble very
small house flies. The nematodes-a
species the researchers haven't yet
identified-are C-shaped and trans-
parent or nearly white.
Studies elsewhere with another
Fergusonina gall-forming fly showed
that nematodes invade the ovaries of

Agricultural Research/December 1997












DAVID NANCE (K7872-7)


the female fly larvae and are later
expelled when the female lays her
eggs. "That same process," says
Purcell, "probably occurs with the fly
that inhabits melaleuca galls.
"We're trying to determine if the
nematode causes galls or, alternative-
ly, whether galls form in response to
some chemical released by the female
fly when she lays her eggs. Once we
find the answer, we'll know if we
need to recruit both organisms, or just
one."
Federal and state agencies cooper-
ating in the research include the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, National
Park Service, Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, Florida
Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, South Florida
Water Management District, and
Dade and Lee Counties.-By Marcia
Wood, ARS.
Joseph K. Balciunas is in the
USDA-ARS Plant Protection Re-
search Unit, Western Regional
Research Center, 800 Buchanan St.,
Albany, CA 94710; phone (510) 559-
5975, fax (510) 559-5777, e-mail
joebalci@pw.usda.gov
Gary R. Buckingham is in the
USDA-ARS Aquatic Weed Control
Research Unit, c/o Florida Biocontrol
Laboratory, P.O. Box 147100,
Gainesville, FL 32614; phone (352)
372-3505, fax (352) 955-2301, e-mail
grbuck@nervm.nerdc. ufl. edu
Ted D. Center is in the USDA-ARS
Aquatic Weed Control Research Unit,
3205 SW College Ave., Fort Lauder-
dale, FL 33314; phone (954) 475-
0541, ext. 103, fax (954) 476-9169, e-
mail tcenter@netrunner.net *


Thin layers of peeling bark give melaleuca
its nickname-paperbark tree.

Agricultural Research/December 1997































lasseled sugarcane growing near Canal Point, Florida.


I t's 3 a.m., in late summer, but
the lights are on in a research
greenhouse at Canal Point,
Florida. The stars burn bright white
points in a night sky, and it's already
about 75F and climbing. An owl's
eerie moan punctuates a crickets'
chorus. Mice scamper.
Welcome to the laboratory of
USDA plant geneticist Peter Y. Tai.
Tai has to be at work early to
collect pollen from the wild sugar-
cane he will cross with domestic
lines. It must be dried and put in cold
storage before the coming daylight's
heat and humidity kill it.
Tai has to rise early on these
summer mornings because wild and
domestic sugarcane are reproduc-
tively out of sync. The wild male
plants flower several months earlier
than the domestic female varieties.
That's why he must store the pollen
at -1800C until the domestic variety
plants are ready to cross.
Just a brush from Tai's hands
causes a shower of gold to fall on the
white collection paper. The night


before, he tied the sugarcane stalks
down so their blooms would be easy
to reach.
"One of the interesting aspects of
my work is how close it is to nature,"
says Tai. "I like to see the pollen
grains falling like gold dust; it's
pretty. I also like it when a seedling
pops up. It holds the promise of a
new hybrid."
Finding an effective storage
protocol for pollen took Tai 2 years,
and he says it's one of his major
successes as a researcher.
Nature, and its preservation, is one
reason Tai is studying wild sugarcane
at the Sugarcane Research Field
Station operated by USDA's Agricul-
tural Research Service. In fact, it's an
important goal of the entire ARS
sugarcane program, along with
enhancing yields and reducing losses
from disease and pests.

Raising Sugar-and More
Agronomist Barry Glaz, also at the
Canal Point station, has worked with


a joint state, federal, and tribal task
force established to restore the south
Florida ecosystem. As a member of a
science committee that supports the
task force, Glaz assisted in identify-
ing research that would help sustain
agriculture and natural Everglades
ecosystems.
Glaz's main recommendation,
which has won support from growers
and environmentalists, is to develop
sugarcane varieties that can thrive
when underground water tables are
high. Water tables are the below-
ground levels that are completely
saturated with water. He is also
working to develop sugarcane
varieties that can produce high yields
with less phosphorus fertilizer or
varieties that actually remove phos-
phorus from the soil.
"This is an exciting opportunity,"
says Glaz. "Florida sugarcane
symbolizes many of agriculture's
benefits-as well as growers' respon-
sibility to protect the environment.
ARS' work with Everglades' restora-
tion is a positive example of how

Agricultural Research/December 1997















"It takes about 8 to 10 years using
domestic varieties as parental clones
to develop new improved varieties.
But it would take nearly twice that
long to transfer wild sugarcane
genes to domestic lines."-Peter Tai


Plant geneticist Peter Tai examines a sugarcane plant selected from
a cross between a commercial variety and wild sugarcane.


science can find solutions that serve
both goals."
Tourism and fishing in the Ever-
glades' 4 national parks and 10
national wildlife refuges provide
$500 million annually. The Ever-
glades is also South Florida's only
fresh water source and the only home
for many kinds of wildlife, including
a hawk known as the sand kite.
The Florida Sugarcane League
estimates that the sugar industry
provides $2 billion in revenue for the
state and directly employs 11,200
people. In fact, Florida ranks first in
the nation as a sugar producer,
providing 24 percent of the sugar
produced in the United States.

Change in the 'Glades
Originally, the Florida Everglades
spread from Lake Okeechobee to the
state's southern shores. In the 1940s,
northern parts of the Everglades were
drained by canals to create a farmers'
paradise known as the Everglades
Agricultural Area. However, the
canal draining and farming in the
Agricultural Research/December 1997


EAA were soon causing serious
sustainability issues for the natural
Everglades. The agricultural area's
phosphorous fertilizers, one of
several concerns, may have contrib-
uted to changes in natural habitat-
most notably, a change in the balance
of plant life from sawgrass, a native
plant that is the staple of the ecosys-
tem, to cattail.
Glaz and University of Florida
scientists Christopher Deren and
George Synder have found differenc-
es in phosphorus uptake among
sugarcane varieties that could lead to
the annual removal of a million
pounds of phosphorus from the
Everglades. Jim Miller, who heads
the ARS Canal Point research group,
works with Glaz to genetically
enhance the phosphorus-removing
trait in sugarcane.
There's also work under way
aimed at meeting the other research
goal: water-tolerant sugarcane. Why
do growers need sugarcane that
doesn't mind getting its feet wet? In
a word: subsidence.


Slowing Soil Disappearance
Most soil subsidence in the Ever-
glades results from oxidation, which
causes the soil to disappear. It's
caused by microbes such as fungi and
bacteria that eat away the organic
matter and


A tassel of wild sugarcane, Saccharum
spontaneum, shows anthesis, or release of
pollen from the plant's anthers.












convert it to carbon dioxide and
water.
"This is a big problem in the
Everglades, where much of the soil is
more than 85 percent organic mat-
ter," says Glaz.
For about 5,000 years, this region
was under water from 7 to 12 months
a year. The resulting balance of
aerobic and anaerobic conditions kept
microorganisms in check, allowing
organic soils to build at rates up to 3
inches per century. Now, with
drained conditions, some soils
subside as much as an inch annually.
The short-term goal of the work is
to identify commercial sugarcane
varieties that yield well when water
tables are high enough to reduce
subsidence to 0.3 inch annually.
Ultimately, the goal is to completely
control subsidence.
As it happens, Tai may have
water-tolerant sugarcane varieties in
his greenhouse. At first, he was
looking at wild varieties to find one
that could stand up to winter cold
snaps that occasionally occur in
Florida and still produce sugar. But
Tai suspects there are wild varieties
that are also water tolerant.
"India and Bangladesh are low-
lying countries that have monsoons
that can last 2 or 3 months," says Tai.
"The wild sugarcane from those
regions, which we looked at for cold
tolerance, may also thrive in high
water."
But it's no easy matter to get wild
sugarcane genes into domestic lines.
"It takes about 8 to 10 years using
domestic varieties as parental clones
to develop new improved varieties.
But it would take nearly twice that
long to transfer wild sugarcane genes
to domestic lines," says Tai.
That's because not everything
about wild sugarcane is suitable for
commercial growers. The hybrids
also have to have economically
sufficient yields to be accepted.


SCOTT BAUER (K7152-9)


Harvesting sugarcane in south Florida, where scientists in the ARS Sugarcane Production
Research Unit are identifying research to help sustain both agriculture and natural
Everglades ecosystems.


And even if Tai's research
provides varieties that are more
environmentally sound, much more
work will have to be done to help the
Everglades.
"What's needed is an integrated
approach," says Glaz. "Sugarcane
varieties that tolerate flooding from
June through September are only
part of the solution. The genetic
research must integrate with studies
in agronomy, microbiology, hydrol-
ogy, and ecology if we are to one
day grow sugarcane profitably-
minus subsidence."-By Jill Lee,
ARS.
Barry Glaz and Peter Y. Tai work
in the USDA-ARS, Sugarcane
Production Research Unit, Star
Route Box 8, Hwy. 441, Canal Point,
FL 33438; phone (561) 924-5227,
fax (561) 924-6109, e-mail
bglaz@ag.gov *


An experimental ARS sugarcane field near
Canal Point, Florida.


Agricultural Research/December 1997








Sprinkler Head Matches Waterflow to Soil Needs


A new sprinkler head may
help growers apply precise-
ly the right amount of water
and farm chemicals to their crops.
Increased precision should reduce or
eliminate problems that might
otherwise be caused by managing an
entire field as if it were uniform
throughout in slope, fertility, and
crop growth.
The device, says Agricultural Re-
search Service engineer Dennis C.
Kincaid at Kimberly, Idaho, is de-
signed to avoid over-irrigating, which
wastes water and can cause leaching
of fertilizer or other chemicals into
underground water supplies.
Variable-flow sprinkler heads in a
center pivot irrigation system, for
example, would allow growers to
apply the correct amount of water not
only to sandy, shallow patches that
drain readily, but also to heavy clay
soils that hold water longer. Center
pivot systems are moving sprinklers
that pivot about one end, irrigating a
circular field typically one-half mile
across.
Kincaid and three Idaho-based
colleagues invented the new sprinkler
head. They are Bradley A. King and
Gary L. Foster of the Linilersii ot
Idaho, Aberdeen, and Rodne. B
Wood, who is with Precision IrriLa-
tion Systems, Inc., of Soda
Springs, Idaho.
The sprinkler head
would be ideal for
growers who use new,
precision-farming
technologies such as
global positioning
systems to map and
manage their farmland.
When an irrigation
system delivers fertiliz-
er or other chemicals
along with water-a
technique known as
chemigation-applica-
tion rates can again be

Agricultural Research/December 1997


Variable-flow irrigation sprinkler head
improves the precision of water and farm
chemical applications.
Below: Agricultural engineers Bradley King
(left), of the University of Idaho, and
Dennis Kincaid, with the ARS Northwest
Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory
at Kimberly, attach a variable-flow
sprinkler head to an irrigation system.


DAVID NANCE (K7871-1)


customized to take into account
natural variations such as the fertility
of different soil types.
Idaho tests with a prototype show
that it can reduce flow to about 35
percent of a nozzle's full capacity,
says King, who is an agricultural
engineer. And the variable-flow
sprinkler head may result in less
wear and tear on irrigation systems
than another option-pulsating
devices that alternately turn the flow
on and off. Unlike that mechanism,
the variable-rate sprinkler head never
completely shuts off the flow.
The amount of flow that's blocked
is determined primarily by the
diameter of a needle or pin that
moves smoothly in and out of the
nozzle. The flow is lessened when
the needle is inserted. However,
King points out, the spray pattern-
the area covered by the spray-isn't
significantly smaller, so it shouldn't
leave plants thirsty.
The needle is controlled either by
an electrical power source or a
hydraulic actuator. Either energy
source can, in turn, be activated by a
computer. Because it may require
fewer pressure regulators and less
\ii rnn and plumbing than some other
', stems, the variable-flow sprinkler
head may prove to be a less expen-
,sie choice for some farms.
A RS and the University of Idaho
are seeking a patent for the
invention.-By Marcia
Wood, ARS.
SFor more information on
Patent Application No. 08/
650, 295, "Variable Flow
Sprinkler Head," contact
Dennis C. Kincaid, USDA-
ARS Northwest Irrigation and
Soils Research Laboratory,
3793 North 3600 East,
Kimberly, ID 83341; phone
(208) 423-6503, fax (208)
423-6555, e-mail kincaid@
kimberly.ars.pn.usbr.gov *








Corn Fiber Yields Oil and Gum Products


From the hull of a kernel of
corn, Agricultural Research
Service scientists, with help
from the University of Massachu-
setts, have discovered and patented a
new corn fiber oil that may lower
serum cholesterol levels. A second
new product-a valuable white corn
fiber gum-was also discovered in
the fibrous hull and is being patented
by ARS.
This research has captured the
interest and backing of two major
companies, Monsanto and the
National Starch and Chemical KEI
Company. It could also lower
the cost of producing other corn-
derived products, like fuel
ethanol.
"These companies have
signed agreements to further
develop the technology," reports
Kevin B. Hicks. "Eventually,
this should create jobs, provide
new uses for agricultural
byproducts, increase income for
processors and growers, and
develop healthy new food C
co
products for consumers.
Hicks, along with fellow
chemists Robert A. Moreau and
Robert A. Norton, discovered the
new corn oil. He heads the Plant
Science and Technology Research
Unit of ARS' Eastern Regional
Research Center (ERRC) in Wynd-
moor, Pennsylvania, where Moreau
leads the corn fiber research project.
Norton is based at ARS' National
Center for Agricultural Utilization
Research in Peoria, Illinois.
Preliminary studies with hamsters
by collaborator Robert Nicolosi, a
nutritional biochemist who directs
the University of Massachusetts
Center for Cardiovascular Disease
Research, indicate that the new corn
fiber oil significantly lowers total
serum cholesterol and LDL choles-
terol, which is the kind that clogs the


arteries. The patent application for
"AmaizingOil," made jointly with the
University of Massachusetts, covers
the process for extracting the oil
from the fiber, use of the oil to
produce cholesterol-lowering prod-
ucts, and individual components of
the oil.
"We knew that the corn milling
industry produces huge amounts of
corn fiber residue that is made into
livestock feed and sold for only
about 5 cents a pound," says Hicks.


lemist Kevin Hicks checks the color and quality o1 a
rn fiber oil sample.



"We wanted to turn this potential
waste disposal problem into an
opportunity, which we did by pro-
cessing cheap fiber into valuable new
products for which there would be a
strong market."
Corn fiber is a low-value by-
product of wet milling, the industrial
process that produces starch, sweet-
eners, fuel grade ethanol, and other
products from corn. The corn proces-
sing industry produces about 4 mil-
lion tons of corn fiber each year,
which could yield about 80,000 tons
of corn fiber oil. This fiber is now
sold as corn gluten feed, a low-cost
ingredient in cattle rations.
Just how did Robert Moreau's
team discover corn fiber oil?


"I knew that Bob Norton in the
ARS Peoria lab had done some work
with the cholesterol-lowering poten-
tial of compounds in corn bran,
which is similar to corn fiber except
that it's produced by dry milling,
instead of wet," Moreau explains.
"So I took a closer look at exactly
what happens to a kernel of corn
during wet milling."
In wet milling, the first step is to
steep, or soak, the kernels in water to
soften and swell them. After steeping
with sulfites for 2 days at 1400F,
the soft kernels break into four
products-the germ, starch, a
high-protein product, and the
hull, or fiber.
"We extracted the new oil
from the outer hull, or seed coat.
Conventional corn oil comes
from the germ," Moreau says.
Moreau collaborated with
Nicolosi on preliminary feeding
studies. When Nicolosi's results
showed that the corn fiber oil
significantly lowered total serum
cholesterol in hamsters, the team
was off and running.
Under terms of the ARS
agreement with the University of
Massachusetts, university coopera-
tors have the right to grant licenses
for the process. On July 23, 1997,
they issued an exclusive license to
Monsanto of St. Louis, Missouri, to
further develop the corn fiber oil
technology.
Monsanto will provide several
hundred thousand dollars in upfront
payments, royalties on future sales of
corn fiber oil products, and potential-
ly several million dollars in payments
as various milestones are reached.
Monsanto will also supply consider-
able funding for ARS corn fiber
research.
"We plan to use this oil in a
variety of food applications, hoping it
will lower cholesterol levels. We're
excited about working with ARS and

Agricultural Research/December 1997












the University of Massachusetts over
the next couple of years," says Charles
Hough. He is director of business
development for Monsanto. "ARS'
idea of taking a low-value product and
turning it into a healthy food is
consistent with Monsanto's mission of
helping people live longer, healthier
lives," says Hough. "This is an area
we'd like to focus on in the future."
After Moreau had extracted the
corn fiber oil, he gave the defatted
fiber to colleague Landis W. Doner,


To remove oil from corn hull fiber, chemist
Robert Moreau pours a sample into a
supercritical fluid extractor.


also a chemist and member of the corn
fiber team at ERRC.
The defatted fiber is about 50
percent hemicellulose, a polysaccha-
ride that is a carbohydrate more
complex than sugar. Doner hit pay
dirt-he discovered a way, using
alkaline hydrogen peroxide, to sepa-
rate and extract the hemicellulose
from the corn fiber.
"For about 50 years, researchers
have been searching for ways to
produce a viable gum from byproducts
of the corn processing industry.
Several processes have even been
patented, but none have been commer-
cialized because all the materials were
tan to brown in color," Doner ex-
plains. "Food processors and indus-


Agricultural Research/December 1997


trial users want corn fiber gum with
very little color."
Doner's corn fiber gum is extracted
as a smooth, white powder, bland in
flavor and aroma. When mixed with
water, it looks and acts like a gum.
The gum could be used in foods as an
emulsifier, a soluble dietary fiber, or a
thickener. Industrial applications
could include adhesives and water-
based paint thickeners.
While corn fiber yields 2 percent
oil, Doner says it yields 40 percent
gum.
Doner and Hicks have applied for a
patent for "Zeagen" and recently
signed a cooperative research and
development agreement with the
National Starch and Chemical Com-
pany (NSCC) of Bridgewater, New
Jersey.
"We're anxious to get started on
scaling up this process to find a wide
range of food and nonfood uses," says
Roger Jeffcoat, NSCC's divisional
vice president for natural polymer
research and biotechnology.

Future Possibilities
Believe it or not, there's still more
to this research project.
"Currently, the United States has
an enormous trade deficit, about 40
percent of which is due to our import-
ing petroleum," says Hicks. "Valu-
able coproducts from this corn fiber
research will offset the cost of making
all corn-derived products, including
fuel ethanol. If we can replace
imported petroleum with our home-
grown fuel ethanol, we could have an
impact on the national economy.
[For more on ethanol production,
see "Improving Ethanol Yield From
Corn," Agricultural Research,
October 1996, pp. 8-11.]
Currently, the cost of fuel ethanol
makes it very difficult to compete
with gasoline. But valuable new


products will hopefully lower net
costs for ethanol production.
"Coproducts now decrease the
cost of ethanol by about 60 cents a
gallon," says Hicks, and our new
technologies should lower this even
more. Our goal, like that of our
partners in these ventures, is to help
growers, industry, and consum-
ers."-By Doris Stanley, ARS.
Kevin B. Hicks, Robert A.
Moreau, and Landis W. Doner are in
the USDA-ARS Plant Science and


Chemist Landis Doner prepares a sample of
corn fiber gum for analysis of color
characteristics


Technology Unit, Eastern Regional
Research Center, 600 East Mermaid
Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038-8551;
phone (215) 233-6580, fax (215)
233-6406, e-mail
[Hicks] khicks@arserrc.gov
[Moreau] rmoreau@arserrc.gov
[Doner] ldoner@arserrc.gov
Robert A. Norton is in the USDA-
ARS Bioactive Agents Research Unit,
National Center for Agricultural
Utilization Research, 1815 N.
University St., Peoria, IL 61604;
phone (309) 681-6251, fax (309)
681-6693, e-mail
nortonra@mail.ncaur.usda.gov *












Imported Wasps Work

Well as Biological Controls




Three major pests of alfalfa and

other crops may soon be on the run


from a pair of parasitic

wasps from Europe.


The wasps are cousins: Peristenus
digoneutis and P. conradi. Their targets:
three plant bugs.
The alfalfa plant bug, Adelphocoris
lineolatus Goeze; tarnished plant bug,
Lygus lineolaris Palisot; and lygus bug, L.
hesperus Knight, are important pests of
crops grown for seed in the western United
States. Each year, they cause tens of
millions of dollars in losses and control
costs. They suck the sap from flowers, d
young fruits, and seeds. The alfalfa plant
bug is an immigrant pest, but the two Lygus
species are native to North America.
Vegetable and fruit seed crops suffer similar losses
from the two Lygus species, says entomologist William
H. Day, who is with the Agricultural Research Service
(ARS). "Nymphs and adults of each species attack the
plants, and native parasites can't adequately suppress
any of them."
Although all three plant bugs occasionally reach high
levels in the 24 million acres of alfalfa grown for forage,
they usually do little damage to this crop grown in the 48
contiguous states.
However, the two Lygus species pose a special
problem: When alfalfa is cut for hay, they fly off to
infest and damage fruit and vegetable crops such as
strawberries, peaches, apples, and beans growing nearby.
Estimating plant-bug damage is difficult. "Visible
injury by sucking insects like these plant bugs is often
confused with other causes or overlooked," Day says.
"Furthermore, their feeding on crops grown for seed can


both lower yields and reduce germination of seed that
does survive."
Day and three other ARS entomologists conduct
laboratory and field tests on parasites and predators of
problem insects at ARS' Beneficial Insects Research
Laboratory in Newark, Delaware. The lab's mission is to
import beneficial insects into the United States for
establishment in areas where insect pests-especially
those of foreign origin-are abundant.
Day's current interest is wasps, especially P. digoneu-
tis, a quarter-inch-long parasite of the two native Lygus
plant bugs, and P. conradi, which attacks the alfalfa
plant bug.
"A female Peristenus wasp
stings a young plant bug
nymph, laying a tiny egg in it,"
F' he says. "A few days later, a
wasp larva hatches and begins
to eat the nymph."
According to Day, "Using
biological controls is better than
chemicals for controlling pests
in northeastern alfalfa. Chemi-
cal insecticides add to crop
production costs and sometimes
cause environmental problems.
They can also kill parasites
previously established by our
,es s lab that now control three other
osep pests of alfalfa-the alfalfa
weevil, pea aphid, and alfalfa
blotch leafminer."
Beginning about 1978,
entomologists at ARS' European Biological Control
Laboratory, now located in Montpellier, France, collect-
ed Peristenus wasps in Europe and shipped them to Day
in Delaware. Day released them from 1979 to 1983 in
northern New Jersey and determined that they were
successfully established there in 1984.
He also led an interagency team to track where the
parasites have become established and spread. Its
members included Day and ARS biological technician
Joseph M. Tropp, along with Robert J. Chianese of the
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Trenton; Ronald
F. Romig of West Chester State University, West
Chester, Pennsylvania; Roy G. Van Driesche of the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Allen T.
Eaton of the University of New Hampshire, Durham.
The team surveyed several hundred fields, collecting
samples of plant bugs from which parasites were later
reared for identification.


Agricultural Research/December 1997












Day found that P. digoneutis had spread into New
York by 1989. Since then, the team has found this
parasite in five new states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Vermont, and
Connecticut) and in a total of 36 .....
counties-over 45,000 square .
miles.
"The probable range is likely
larger," Day says. "We detected P.
digoneutis in 12 new counties we
surveyed in 1995 and in 11
additional counties in 1996."
Most of its dispersion has been
to the Northeast, he says. That's
largely because the wasps travel
with the prevailing summer winds
from the Southwest. Plus, they
apparently can't cope with the
warmer climate to the south of
New York City.
"The parasite has only moved
about 30 miles south in 12 years,"
notes Day, though genetic selec-
tion may eventually allow it to i. .
move farther south. But in the near
future, its control of tarnished
plant bugs will likely be limited to
the northern United States and southern Canada, he says.
As for P. conradi, Day first discovered it had become
established and was attacking the alfalfa plant bug in
1988. P. conradi has spread less extensively than P.
digoneutis, partly because it reproduces only once a
year, while P. digoneutis breeds twice.
"P. conradi has spread into New York from its initial
establishment points in northern Delaware and central
New Jersey. Joe and I found it in 9 counties, but it's
probably present in
SCOTT BAUER (K7867-1) others," says Day,
"because our surveys
for this parasite have
been limited."
When Day and
Tropp sampled
northeastern alfalfa
grass fields for P.
digoneutis and P.
conradi wasps, they
commonly found
seven species of
plant bugs and three
native wasp para-


sites. The latter were ineffective controls for both the
tarnished and alfalfa plant bugs, prompting the overseas
search for new parasite species.

They Know What They Like
Day says, "Our host range data
also show that the two introduced
parasites significantly attack only
the target pests, so they are un-
: likely to reduce nontarget or non-
pest species. That's good news for
biocontrol efforts and ensures that
ecological balances are not
disturbed."
Day's research turned up
something unusual. He has long
suspected that the tarnished plant
bug, a native U.S. insect, could be
controlled by a foreign parasite.
Traditionally, researchers turn to a
foreign biocontrol to control a
foreign pest.
"But our experience with P.
digoneutis indicates that certain
foreign biocontrol agents have
untapped potential to go after
some of our troublesome native
insect pests," he says.
Day believes that although introduced beneficial are
carefully screened before they are imported and released,
to ensure they will not attack native beneficial insects,
"there has been insufficient research to determine if
foreign biocontrol insects might control some native insect
pests."
Day's research on the wasps' dispersion and geographic
limits provides information needed to establish them in
other regions of the United States.
"With what we now know about the spread and
effectiveness of P. digoneutis, it appears that it has the
potential to control the two Lygus bugs on alfalfa forage
and seed crops over wide areas of the northern United
States," says Day.
Research now under way at several locations will
determine if these classical biological control results can
be repeated on seed alfalfa in the Northwest and on
strawberries and other fruits and vegetables in the North-
east.-By Hank Becker, ARS.
William H. Day is at the USDA-ARS Beneficial Insects
Research Laboratory, 501 South Chapel St., Newark, DE
19713; phone (302) 731-7330, fax (302) 737-6780, e-mail
tropp@udel.edu *


Agricultural Research/December 1997








New Safeguards Against GlycoalA


Techniques help plant

breeders detect and

reduce their

occurrence in food

crops.

Breeders of new kinds of
tomatoes, potatoes, and
eggplants for farms and
gardens might soon have a faster and
easier way to test promising plants
for troublesome natural compounds
called glycoalkaloids. And a new,
gene-based strategy may help blunt
plants' ability to form those com-
pounds in the first place.
These two new developments from
Agricultural Research Service
laboratories in Texas and California
should offer additional safeguards
against glycoalkaloids. They should
also hasten breeding and screening of
these vegetables, not only by ARS
plant breeders, but also by colleagues
at universities and at vegetable seed
companies worldwide. Thousands of
new tomatoes and potatoes, for
instance, are screened by breeders
every year in the ongoing quest for
outstanding flavor, superb texture, or
other prized qualities.
Biologist Larry H. Stanker and
chemist Carol K. Holtzapple, with
ARS at College Station, Texas, and
chemist Mendel Friedman at the ARS
Western Regional Research Center in
Albany, California, have patented a
laboratory-built protein that could
become the basis for a rapid, simple,
accurate test for glycoalkaloids.
Known as a monoclonal antibody,
the protein seeks out and binds to key
alkaloids in potatoes, tomatoes, and
eggplants. These crops belong to a
botanical family known as solana-
ceous plants, after the Latin name for


the group, Solanaceae. The scientists
named the antibody "Sol-129."
The idea of using monoclonal
antibodies to detect glycoalkaloids
isn't new. But the ARS-developed
antibody is apparently the first to do
this job for all three crops.
Stanker and Holtzapple are in the
ARS Food and Feed Safety Research
Unit at College Station. Friedman is
in the Food Safety and Health
Research Unit at Albany.

What a Test Like This Might Do
The new antibody can be used to
ensure that top-performing potatoes
from plant breeding experiments, for
example, don't exceed the generally
accepted safe limit of 20 milligrams
of glycoalkaloids for each 100 grams
of fresh potato.
Unlike some other options, a test
that relies on the new monoclonal
antibody would not require expen-
sive laboratory instruments, costly


To analyze genes in potatoes, plant
physiologist William Belknap prepares
potato tissue under liquid nitrogen, which
keeps genetic material intact.


organic solvents, or a highly trained
staff to run equipment and analyze
results.
A New England company,
EnviroLogix, Inc., of Portland,
Maine, is working with the scientists
to package the antibody in an
affordable, easy-to-use test kit. The
company has a cooperative research
and development agreement with the
agency.
A reliable and portable test might
be especially useful for potato
breeders. They regularly use wild
potatoes as parents of new kinds of
spuds for baking or for processing
into french fries, chips, dehydrated
potato flakes, or other products.
"Potato breeders," says Stanker,
"want to give commercial potatoes

Agricultural Research/December 1997









































Plant physiologist William Belknap (left) and chemist Paul V. Allen catalog bags of potatoes
grown at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. They will send the
experimental potatoes to ARS colleagues in Aberdeen, Idaho, for field evaluation.


the best traits of their wild relatives,
such as resistance to a certain insect
or disease. But wild potatoes typical-
ly have higher glycoalkaloid levels.
This test would simplify the task of
making sure that the level in the
experimental potatoes is okay."

Gene Thwarts Glycoalkaloids
Potatoes of the future may manu-
facture less glycoalkaloids-if they
contain the rebuilt form of a gene
newly found and copied at Albany.
Charles P. Moehs, formerly with
ARS at Albany, did the work with
co-researchers Friedman and Paul V.
Allen of the Food Safety and Health
Research Unit; William R. Belknap
and David R. Rockhold of the Crop


Agricultural Research/December 1997


Improvement and Utilization Re-
search Units, also at Albany; and
Andrew Stapleton, who is now at
Bio-Rad Laboratories in Hercules,
California.
In nature, the gene cues the plant
to make an enzyme called solanidine
UDP-glucose glucosyltransferase.
The plant must have that enzyme in
order to produce a key glycoalkaloid,
alpha-chaconine.
The researchers have inserted
backwards, or antisense, copies of
the gene into potato tissue and have
nurtured the tissue in healthy plants.
"The presence of the antisense gene,"
says Belknap, "results in degradation
of the message conveyed by the
natural gene. As a result, plants make
fewer glycoalkaloids."


That's what happened in prelimi-
nary lab and greenhouse tests with
about a dozen of the genetically
engineered plants. Belknap leads that
research.
His team has provided several
hundred of the transgenic tubers for
outdoor testing in Idaho. In late 1997,
plant pathologist Dennis L. Corsini
and geneticist Joseph J. Pavek
harvested their first crop of the
bioengineered plants from an experi-
mental field near their laboratory.
They are in the ARS Small Grains
and Potato Germplasm Research Unit
at Aberdeen. They'll test the high-
tech tubers not only for low glyco-
alkaloid levels, but also for other key
indicators of quality.
In the meantime, Belknap's
Albany team is readying new combi-
nations of the gene and the promoters
that turn the gene on or off. The best
of these configurations will become
candidates for more tests next sum-
mer in Idaho.-By Marcia Wood,
ARS.
For more information on U.S.
Patent 5,614,408, "Monoclonal
Antibodies to Potato, Tomato, and
Eggplant Glycoalkaloids and Assays
for the Same," contact Larry H.
Stanker, USDA-ARS Food and Feed
Safety Research Unit, 2881 F&B Rd.,
College Station, TX 77845; phone
(409) 260-9484, fax (409) 260-9332,
e-mail stanker@usda.tamu.edu
For information on U.S. Patent
Application No. 08,797,226, "DNA
Sequences Encoding Solanidine
UDP-Glucose Glucosyltransferase
and Use to Reduce Glycoalkaloids in
Solanaceous Plants," contact William
R. Belknap, USDA-ARS Crop Im-
provement and Utilization Research
Unit, Western Regional Research
Center, 800 Buchanan St., Albany,
CA 94710; phone (510) 559-6072, fax
(510) 559-5777, e-mail
wrb@pw.usda.gov *








T-Cell Testing Made Easy


he need for a quick and easy
way to test people's immune
competence first hit Tim
Kramer in 1976 while working at the
Anemia and Malnutrition Research
Center in Chiang Mai in KEITH WELLER
northwest Thailand.
Kramer was returning
a previously malnour-
ished child to her home
some 4 hours' drive from
the center, over very hilly
terrain. As he passed
through the small villages
along the way, he
thought, "I'd love to have
some data on how
malnutrition affects
cellular immunity in such
a location."
In layman's terms,
that's the ability of T-
cells to rapidly divide
when they bump into a
chemical stimulus, or
antigen. Among the
immune cells, Kramer
explains, T-cells are the
most sensitive indicators
of a person's nutritional
status, because their
activity is altered by even
marginal nutritional
deficiencies.
But it would have been
very difficult technically
to do such measurements
in a makeshift laboratory
in the countryside, says Nutritional
Kramer. The traditional individual "
method requires at least 96-well cell
T-cell growl
10 milliliters of blood.
Many people in Thailand
and other Asian cultures are opposed
to giving blood. Assuming one could
get enough, the T-cells then would
have to be separated by highly
trained technicians using expensive
equipment before they could be
cultured and subjected to a foreign
substance to prompt them to divide.


As a solution, Kramer thought,
"Why couldn't we use a microculture
of whole blood instead of separating
the lymphocytes [T-cells and related
cells]." Such a technique would


immunoiogist nm iAramer examines a conecuon 01
l-cell proliferation cultures harvested onto the filter
harvester. The samples can be used to determine ho'
th has taken place.

require only a few drops of blood and
significantly reduce the technical
requirements .. and thus the cost.
But it took 11 years and Agricul-
tural Research Service (ARS) back-
ing before Kramer had the time and
resources to begin developing the
whole-blood culture technique. "And


it's so simple, it's ridiculous," he
says. Kramer is a nutritional immu-
nologist at ARS' Beltsville (Mary-
land) Human Nutrition Research
Center.

Refined, Over Time
For the last decade,
Kramer has tweaked the
technique into a fool-
proof measure of cellular
immune competence for
nutritional studies-
particularly for use in
field studies of large
populations. During that
period, a handful of other
immunologists began
developing the technique
for other types of re-
search and clinical use.
"But it's still not
:widely accepted among
immunologists," says
Kramer.
S .. He hopes the situation
will change after publica-
tion of his method by the
National Academy of
Sciences. Because of its
simplicity and reduced
cost, it could be used
routinely to screen
infants and children, the
elderly, and others whose
immune competence may
be suspect.
"The technique is ideal
mat of a for pediatric use," says
w much Kramer, since it requires
only 0.4 milliliter of
blood or less-just a few
drops. "That's one-
twenty-fifth the amount needed for
the traditional method."
And it costs 35 to 40 percent less
because it doesn't require a micro-
scope or centrifuge and the technical
know-how to use them. Instead, he
says, a less trained technician can


Agricultural Research/December 1997












easily handle three times more
samples than with the traditional
technique.
Immune cells, especially T-cells,
are the body's main defense against
viral infections and parasites. They
also play a major role in countering
bacterial and cancer cells before they
get a toehold. By multiplying faster
than the invaders, immune cells keep
them suppressed, says Kramer. "It's
a numbers game."
What's more, T-cells coordinate
the whole defense. That includes
stimulating the production of anti-
bodies (immunoglobulins) by
constantly "talking" to one another
and other cells, immune types and
otherwise. They talk through cyto-
kines-small chemicals with names
like interleukin-2, interferon-gamma,
and tumor necrosis factor. And they
listen through receptors-comple-
mentary chemicals for these cyto-
kines on the surfaces of cells. The
body's immune response is a very
complex scenario, says Kramer.

Not Only Quicker-Better
That complexity is why immunol-
ogists think they have to separate
immune cells from the blood-a
veritable chemical soup-to get an
accurate measurement of immune
competence.
Kramer says it took about 2 years
of testing to convince himself that
whole-blood cultures could produce
accurate results. Now he believes
they give a more authentic picture of
what's happening inside the body,
because the cells are growing in a
familiar milieu rather than among the
foreign proteins in commercial
media.
Kramer's whole-blood culture
technique passed its first shakedown
in 1987, when he was back in
Thailand as an ARS researcher
testing the effects of zinc deficiency


Agricultural Research/December 1997


on the immune competence of
children. Two years later, it withstood
the rigors of a study at the Beltsville
center.
But it really proved its value in
1991 in Linxian, China, where
Kramer was cooperating on a large
study pitting various antioxidant
combinations against cancer of the
esophagus-a major disease in that
part of China. In just 3 weeks, he


singlehandedly tested some 15,000
whole-blood microcultures for T-cell
response. Side-by-side tests showed
that the results were just as accurate
as those gotten traditionally.
Since then, he has used the tech-
nique exclusively in several nutrition
studies. It has shown a significant
drop in the immune response of U.S.
Army Ranger trainees during periods
of extreme food restriction coupled
with physical stress. [See also "Calo-
rie Slashing and Overexertion Can
Stress the Immune System," Agricul-
tural Research, January 1995, p.22.]
In a study of infant patients in a
Washington, D.C., hospital, it


distinguished between those with
active AIDS, those infected with the
HIV virus, and those with no
infection-based on the level of T-
cell proliferation.
"It provides a good in vitro mirror
of what goes on physiologically in
people," says Susanna Cunningham-
Rundles, associate professor of
immunology at Cornell University
Medical Center in New York City.
"What Dr. Kramer has done is to
optimize our ability to look at the
interaction between nutrients and the
immune system in reality.
"Whole-blood cultures tell us
whether or not the immune system is
altered," says Cunningham-Rundles,
"but they don't tell us how-whether
it's due to changes in the number or
types of immune cells. That's where
the traditional technique shines. But
with technology being developed,"
she says, "it should be possible to
merge whole-blood culture with the
more analytical technique for routine
clinical use and research use."
And Kramer hasn't finished
improving his technique. He says the
chemicals T-cells use to communi-
cate among themselves also reflect
the cells' activity and thus indicate a
person's immune competence. So he
is perfecting the recipe for getting
accurate measurements of these
cytokines and receptors. He's close to
finishing this work on two cytokines
and is about halfway to optimizing
the technique for a third cytokine and
a receptor.-By Judy McBride,
ARS.
Tim R. Kramer is at the USDA-
ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition
Research Center, Bldg. 307, 10300
Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD
20705-2350; phone (301) 504-8396,
fax (301) 504-9456, e-mail
kramer@307.bhnrc.usda.gov *


What Tim Kramer has


done is to optimize the


ability to look at the


interaction between


nutrients and the immune


system in reality.







Phony Pheromone Foils

Gypsy Moth Males


Scientists are looking to sabotage

the gypsy moth's love life by air-

dropping mini pheromone dispensers

into tree canopies where the insect

mates.
Their aim is a chemical-free way to prevent the moth's
caterpillar offspring, which hungrily defoliate forest and
shade trees such as oak and poplar.
Kevin W. Thorpe and ARS colleagues envision using
standard, planeborne sprayer equipment to seed the
dispensers into the tree canopy. Held to leaves, branches,
and trunks by means of gluelike sticker,
the dispensers' job would be to saturate
the air with Disparlure, a commercially SCOTT BAUER (K5504-4)
produced pheromone that mimics the
natural chemical sex attractant of
female moths.
"With so much synthetic pheromone
in the air, the male is actually unable to
home-in on the real thing coming from
a female," says Thorpe, an entomolo-
gist at ARS' Insect Biocontrol Labora-
tory in Beltsville, Maryland.
The two types of dispensers that are
being investigated look like tiny plastic
beads and flakes of confetti less than 3
millimeters in size. Both forms are
fashioned after commercial designs,
Thorpe says.
In past years, pheromone strips were
hung by hand in trees to try to disrupt Gypsy moth caterpillar.
mating. But studies showed that air-
dropping the tiny dispensers places
more of the attractant where it's most
effective-high in the tree canopy,
where the moths usually mate.
"When you have a huge area of forest," notes Thorpe's
colleague Barbara Leonhardt, "hanging strips becomes
impractical." She is director of ARS' Plant Sciences
Institute in Beltsville.
The focus now, she adds, is to perfect inexpensive ways
of formulating the dispensers so they'll flow freely from
aircraft sprayers.


Leonhardt and Thorpe see the pheromone primarily
as an insecticide-free weapon against new or isolated
infestations of the moth. Use of the dispensers-along
with other natural weapons such as insect viruses or
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-would allow USDA's
Forest Service personnel and others greater flexibility
in halting the moth's assault on forest or woodland
near wildlife preserves or residential areas.
Thorpe says field studies of the two dispenser
designs have been encouraging. In a recent test con-
ducted in Virginia's Augusta and Rockridge Counties,
use of the dispensers kept nearly 100 percent of moths
from mating. That, as a result, cut the number of fertile
egg masses by 75 to 100 percent on pheromone-
protected trees, compared to those in untreated plots.
By adjusting dispenser size, it is
possible to regulate the amount and rate
of pheromone that's released.
One reason this is important is the
$12 to $20 per-acre cost for phero-
mone. Add to that the $3 to $8 cost of
incorporating it into the bead or flake,
respectively.
Another reason is that it ensures the
pheromone will last throughout the
moth's 3- to 6-week mating period,
which kicks off in late June to early
July. If too much pheromone is re-
leased, the supply depletes itself too
soon; if there's too little, a male may
succeed in finding one of the flightless
females.
So what actually happens when the
moths fail to meet? She'll still deposit
eggs, though they'll be sterile. And the
hapless male? Says Thorpe: "It'll
eventually use up its energy reserves
and die, because it doesn't feed."-By
Jan Suszkiw, ARS.
Kevin W. Thorpe is at the USDA-ARS Insect Biocon-
trol Laboratory, Bldg. 306, 10300 Baltimore Ave.,
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350; phone (301) 504-5139, fax
(301) 504-8190, e-mail thorpe@asrr.arsusda.gov +


Agricultural Research/December 1997












Lab Diet for Wasps Spells Trouble
for Potato Beetles
A team of ARS entomologists-
turned-chefs is cooking up trouble for
Colorado potato beetles. The recipe
could cut the need for chemical
insecticides for growing eggplant.
The diners will be massive num-
bers of a parasitic wasp known as
Edovum puttleri. The female E.
puttleri lays her eggs inside those of
the potato beetle, which never hatch.
ARS entomologist Benjamin Puttler,
now retired, discovered the wasp in
South America in the 1970s.
Field trials have shown the wasp
can allow commercial eggplant
growers to use 4 instead of an
average 14 insecticide applications to
control the pest. But it's relatively
costly and inefficient to rear the
wasps on a diet of beetle eggs. That's
because beetle eggs must be harvest-
ed from beetles raised on potato
plants-a relative of the eggplant-
grown in-
doors. SCOTT BAUER (K4978-5)
An ARS
research team
aims to cut
out the beetle
and potato
plant middle-
men. Their -:
experimental i" i .
artificial diet
mimics the
beetle eggs' Colorado potato beetle.
contents with
chicken egg yolk, powdered milk,
and insect bloodlike hemolymph. The
scientists even devised artificial egg
membranes to house the wasp's
growing brood. Still needed: a cheap,
off-the-shelf substitute for
hemolymph. It holds critical sub-
stances that trigger the wasp larva's
development into an adult. Dale
Gelman, USDA-ARS Insect Biocon-


c Inc date


trol Laboratory, Beltsville, Mary-
land; phone (301) 504-8909, fax
(301) 504-5104, e-mail
gelman@asrr.arsusda.gov


In Future, Potato Chips-To-Be
May Not Need a Warm-Up
Thanks to ARS scientists in
Wisconsin, a wild relative of the
potato might someday mean less
time and expense for giving potato
chips the light color consumers
demand.
Today, potatoes taken from cold
storage must be slowly warmed-
during a month-long reconditioning
period-before they can be pro-
cessed into chips. Without this step,
accumulated sugars will give chips
an unacceptable dark-brown, burnt-
looking appearance. No commercial
varieties can be processed directly
from cold storage. That's where
Solanum raphanifolium comes in.
The tubers of this native
of Argentina and Bolivia
can be processed into
light-colored chips
directly from cold storage.
ARS scientists identi-
fied the trait while pains-
takingly screening more
than 80 wild potato
species. Then, by crossing
S. raphanifolium with
relatives of commercial
varieties, the scientists
developed new breeding
lines. Hybrids from these lines were
chipped directly from cold storage,
cutting the reconditioning time to 1
week.
The scientists have provided the
new lines to public and private
breeders. New varieties could appear
within several years. There's an
added benefit to potatoes that can be
chipped from cold temperatures: less
need for chemicals to inhibit sprout-


ing during storage. Many chemically
based sprout inhibitors are being
eliminated by the Environmental
Protection Agency.
Robert E. Hanneman, USDA-ARS
Vegetable Crops Research Unit,
Madison, Wisconsin; phone (608)
264-5193, fax (608) 262-4743, e-
mail rehannem@facstaff wisc.edu


"No Hands" Scale
A new scale with agricultural uses
could also prove useful in manufac-
turing, to determine the mass of
objects dangerous to touch, such as
molten ceramics and glass.
ARS research engineers originally
designed and patented the scale to
measure corn-kernel moisture. It uses
microwaves to measure the grain's
moisture content without harming the
kernels. It also works with peanuts
and soybeans-other commodities
for which moisture content can be
critical.
The new scale is fast-it can take
a measurement in 20 thousandths of
a second-and can be made from
readily obtained components.
ARS is seeking to license the
technology, based on a phenomenon
called the microwave resonant
cavity. This cavity marks the distur-
bance an object creates as it moves
through a microwave field. On the
basis of this measurement, the scale
can calculate mass and moisture
content and reveal defects without
harming an object. Stuart 0. Nelson,
USDA-ARS Richard B. Russell
Research Center, Athens, Georgia;
phone (706) 546-3101, fax (706)
546-3607, e-mail
sonelson@bae.uga.edu


Agricultural Research/December 1997









1997 INDEX


Note: A more complete index is available on the World Wide Web at


A
Agrobacterium tumefaciens, to transfer alfalfa
genes, Jan-16
Agroforestry, row crops amid trees, Nov-10
Air quality, monitoring cotton gins, May-17
Alfalfa, absorbs excess nitrogen, Jan-14
Alfalfa, major pests targeted, Dec-14
Alley cropping, Nov-10
Alternative crops for the Midsouth, Nov-10
Anticancer compounds
ellagic acid from strawberries, Aug-16
limonoid glucosides from citrus, Jul-23
resveratrol from grapes, Nov-14
wheat bran against colon cancer, Nov-23
Apples, keeping Fujis fresh, Aprl 1
Apricot, superb Robada, Aug-11
Aquaculture, canned carp product, Jan-12
Aquaculture, suckers raised for bait, Oct-23
Arboretum, U.S. National
prize-winning ornamentals, Feb-18
South African wildflowers, Sep-8
B
Bacteria
for vegetable oil conversion, Mar-21
to make biofuel, fertilizer, Apr-23
Bees
caged for pollination, Oct-10
smaller cells help fight mites, May-22
smoking out mites, Aug-19
traps for Africanized honey bees, Mar-22
Biocontrol
areawide IPM against codling moths, May-4
areawide IPM against corn pests, Oct-4
Beauveria bassiana curbs corn borer,
Nov-12
built-in plant defenses, Feb-13
colored mulch starves nematodes, Oct-18
diets for beneficial insects, Jun-2, Jun-4,
Aug-23, Oct-23, Dec-21
Edovum puttleri for potato beetles, Dec-21
insecticides in ornamentals, Jul-22
Italian insects eat musk thistle, Mar-10
keeping microbials alive, Oct-22
leaf hairs confuse fungi, Jul-22
maysin starves corn earworms, Jun-18
Mirl gene curbs corn pest, Jun-19
neem biopesticides, Jan-23
nematode curtails sap beetle, Apr-10
nematode-resistant peppers, Oct-12
of melaleuca with insects, Dec-4
of silverleaf whitefly, Feb-4
Pasteuria controls soybean cyst
nematodes, Sep-7
pheromone confuses armyworms, Jan-23
pheromone confuses gypsy moths, May-23,
Dec-20
Rogas indiscretus for gypsy moth, Mar-23
trap-cropping melon pests, Sep-16
wasps control lygus and plant bugs, Dec-14
wheat resists Hessian fly, Aug-22
with rival Fusarium species, Aug-20
Bioremediation
microbes clean up toxic waste, Mar-18
with novel alfalfa, Jan-14
yeast gene for bioaccumulation, Mar-21


http://www.ars.usda gov/is/AR/archive/key.htm
Birdsfoot trefoil, commercial variety, Sep-22
Bitter pit, calcium controls in orchards, Apr-16
BLO, bacterium-like organism, Nov-20
Broccoli, grown in soybean mulch, Mar-12
Brucellosis, monitoring; vaccine, Nov-18
C-D
Carp, canned, Jan-12
Cattle
diet improves nitrogen efficiency, Jun-12
diet strengthens immunity, Oct-19
dietary fat warms calves, Jun-23
pine needles disrupt pregnancy, Sep-23
Romosinuanos from Venezuela, Sep-14
temperature-humidity index, Aug-23
Cereal grains resist head scab, Sep-22
Citrus, extracting limonoid glucosides, Jul-23
Cockroach, new allergen, test for detecting,
Mar-23
Computer models
CREAMS, EPIC, FACE, NLEAP, RZWQM,
SALSA, SHAW, SPUR2, SRM, WEPP,
Jul-4
Rusty computes wheat rust, Apr-22
Stored Grain Advisor, Jun-23
WeedCast predicts weeds, Mar-20, Nov-4
WEPP predicts soil erosion, Apr-4
Computer software
FarmWin 97, Nov-8
fuzzy logic helps set RDAs, May-20
for peanut producers, Oct-20
Corn
cross-pollinating hybrids, Nov-4
domestic-exotic crosses, Sep-4
fungus controls borer, Nov-12
Mirl enzyme prolongs Bt, Jun-19
oil and gum from hulls, Dec-12
sap beetle a damaging pest, Apr-10
seeds protected by microbial coat, Apr-23
silencing specific genes, Sep-23
silk has natural repellent, Jun-18
viral studies enhanced, May-21
Corn Belt, areawide IPM, rootworms, Oct-4
Cotton
air quality around gins, May-17
conveyor-belt dryer, Jun-11
mending ties on bales, Jul-20
more frequent watering, May-23
NIR measures maturity, dyeability, Mar-23
school for gin managers, Oct-12
transgenic, has stronger fiber, Aug-23
undeveloped fiber and PIX, Jan-23
white-speck neps won't dye, May-14
CRADA
antibody test kit for glycoalkaloids, Dec-16
corn gene functions, Sep-23
encapsulated insect diet, Aug-23
insect mass-rearing diet, Oct-23
new neem products, Jan-23
suction-powered valve, Feb-23
tastier rice cakes, Sep-23
uses for feathers, Jan-23
wheat bran and colon cancer, Nov-23
Cryptosporidium parvum, vaccine, Jan-12
Drought, lessened by conservation tillage,
Jan-4


E-F
Earthworms reflect soil condition, Jan-19
Embryo rescue, to develop new fruits, Aug-9
Erosion
curbs for small farms, Nov-17
gypsum and PAM control, Sep-18, 21
in the wheat-growing Palouse, Jun-20
surge protector lessens, Mar-15
Exports, rice for Japanese consumers, Mar-4
FarmWin 97, computerized recordkeeping,
Nov-8
Fire blight, studying in arborspheres, Jun-8
Flowers, native South African, Sep-8
Food safety, killing bacteria on meat, Oct-16
Forage, multiuse sunn hemp, Apr-23
Forum
An Experiment Continues, Jan-2
Teaming Up Against the Whitefly, Feb-2
Booming Exports Good for Jobs, Mar-2
WEPP-Erosion Prediction for the Next
Millennium, Apr-2
The Promise of Dolly, May-2
Diet Critical To Mass-Rearing Beneficials,
Jun-2
Global Change-What Will It Do to
Agriculture? Jul-2
Making More Cropland by Tinkering With
Plants, Aug-2
Many Rewards From International
Cooperation, Sep-2
Going Areawide Makes IPM Goal Practical,
Oct-2
Big or Small-All Farmers Gain From
Research, Nov-2
It Takes Teamwork To Restore the
Everglades, Dec-2
Freeze-thaw effects on soil, Apr-9, Jun-20
Freezing, ice damage in plants, Apr-18
Fruit
and vegetables, lightly processed, Jan-20
calcium sprays boost quality, Apr-16
new peaches, nectarines, grapes, Aug-9
Fungi
Beauveria bassiana protects corn, Nov-12
clean up toxic pollution, Mar-18
Fusarium graminearum, head scab, Sep-22
Fusarium strains reduce wilt, Aug-20
hold soil particles together, Oct-22
Phytophthora, Fusarium in soybeans, Oct-8
Puccinia recondita causes rust in wheat,
rye, Feb-22, Jul-22
G-H
Genetic engineering
Agrobacterium tumefaciens transfers DNA,
Jan-16
cloning animals for biomedicines, May-2
gene "gun" speeds transfer, Jan-10
wheat, for baked goods, Feb-23
Geranium, identifying viruses in, Jun-22
Germplasm
Enhancement for Maize, GEM, Sep-4
pollinated with caged bees, Oct-10
Global change, effects on agriculture, Jul-4
Glycoalkaloids, new test for, Dec-16
Goats, formula for trait components, Jan-23

Agricultural Research/December 1997









1997


INDEX


Grapes, products from muscadines, Nov-14
Grass seed, field-burning alternatives, Aug-12
Guayule, for hypoallergenic latex, May-23
Gypsum curbs erosion, Sep-18
HAM, hand-held aerosol monitor, May-17
Homocysteine, and B vitamins, Apr-23
Homocysteine, reduced by folic acid, Jun-16
I
Immune system competence, Dec-18
Insects
beet armyworm, Jan-23
Colorado potato beetle, Dec-21
corn earworm, Jun-18, Jul-22
corn rootworm, Jul-23
cucumber beetle and squash bug, Sep-16
European corn borer, Nov-12
fall armyworm, Jun-19, Jul-22
fruit flies controlled by irradiation, Jun-23
gypsy moth checked by wasp, Mar-23
gypsy moth lure disrupts mating, May-23,
Dec-20
Hessian fly, Aug-22
how predators and parasites feed, Jun-4
lab diet for wasps, spined soldier bugs,
Aug-23, Oct-23
melaleuca biocontrols, Dec-4
migratory travel patterns, Feb-14
Peristenus wasps against alfalfa pests,
Dec-14
pollinate germplasm collections, Oct-10
sap beetle succumbs to nematode, Apr-10
southwestern corn borer, Jun-19
stored grain, cooling suppresses, Jun-23
whitefly, a 5-year update, Feb-4
Internet, ARS Digital Image Gallery, Mar-23
Internet, Trickle-L mailing list, May-18
IPM
areawide codling moth suppression, May-4
areawide corn rootworm suppression, Jul-23
pest migrations affect control, Feb-14
Irradiation, for pest quarantine, Jun-23
Irrigation
automatic pressure control, Mar-15
drip, Trickle-L shares details, May-18
for more cotton, May-23
pulse, plus water-saving valve, Feb-23
sprinkler head cuts costs, Dec-11
L-M-N
Latex, hypoallergenic, from guayule, May-23
Livestock behavioral study facility, Jun-14
Manure, equations reduce risks, Nov-23
Manure, maximizing crop nutrients, Jun-12
Mass-rearing, lab diets for beneficial insects,
Jun-2, Jun-4, Aug-23, Oct-23, Dec-21
Meadowfoam, for biodegradable oil, Feb-17
Melaleuca, Florida wetlands pest, Dec-4
Melons, protecting, Jan-19, Sep-16, Nov-20,
Microwaves measure grain moisture, Dec-21
Migration of insect pests, Feb-14
Mulch, colored, starves nematodes, Oct-18
Neem, commercial biopesticides, Jan-23
Nutrition, human
alcohol lowers vitamin B, Apr-23
beneficial corn hull products, Dec-12
folic acid fortification, Jun-16

Agricultural Research/December 1997


homocysteine reduced, Apr-23, Jun-16
marginal nutrient deficiencies, Dec-18
more rational RDAs, May-20
preemie infant feeding, Feb-23
Nuts, automated pistachio sorter, Jan-18
O-P
Obesity, effects of two hormones, Nov-23
Oil, vegetable, for industrial uses, Mar-21
Ozone hole, a different issue, Jul-16
PAM, polyacrylamide anchors topsoil, Sep-21
Pawpaws, keen interest in growing, Mar-16
Peanuts, breeding improved, Feb-16
Peanuts, expert system for producers, Oct-20
Peas, dried, improved, Sep-23
Peppers, resistant to nematodes, Oct-12
Pesta, for raising helpful microbes, Mar-20
Pesticide, gentle sprayer cuts drift, Apr-12
Pistachio sorter, Jan-18
Plastic, more flexible, degradable, Apr-21
Pork, leaner, role of hormones, Nov-23
Potatoes
breeding better, in less time, Dec-16
hybrids survive blight, May-13
less reconditioning before chipping, Dec-21
under late blight attack, May-10
Poultry
feathers, for biodegradable products, Jan-
23
heterophils keep chicks healthy, May-9
how Salmonella bacteria invade, Jul-23
sterilized without cooking, Oct-16
R-S
Resveratrol in muscadine grapes, Nov-14
Rice
DNA helps catalog diversity, Jun-22
improving Japanese varieties, Mar-4
slower-digesting products, Jan-22
tastier flavored cakes, Sep-23
tolerant to zinc shortfall, Mar-4
Rust, identifying in wheat, rye, Feb-22
Salmonella
how infection happens, Jul-23
killed by steaming, Oct-16
lymphokines thwart in chicks, May-9
Scales to weigh dangerous items, Dec-21
Seeds, grass, certification, Aug-12
Silvopasture, raising cattle and trees, Nov-10
Small farms, grower-supported studies, Nov-4
Soil
aerenchyma roots penetrate claypan, Aug-4
amendments reduce erosion, Sep-18, 21
earthworm casts show condition, Jan-19
freeze-thaw worsens erosion, Jun-20
freezing and thawing effects, Apr-9
glomalin protein holds together, Oct-22
nationwide erosion prediction, Apr-4
RZWQM predicts ag. chemical movement
underground, Jul-18
smearing curtails plant growth, Oct-23
subsidence in Everglades, Dec-8
Soybean
cyst nematodes, Sep-7
for tofu and natto, Nov-13
oil-based waxes, Feb-23
sudden death syndrome, Oct-8


to mulch broccoli, Mar-12
Stabileze, process extends microbes' viability,
Oct-22
Starch, wheat-based concrete, Jan-13
Storage
apples in controlled atmosphere, Apr-11
computer keeps grain cool, Jun-23
fresh-cut produce, Jan-20
reconditioning of potatoes, Dec-21
Strawberries, boosting ellagic acid, Aug-16
Stress
cannabinoid receptors in livestock, Jun-15
cold, reduced in calves, Jun-23
in livestock studied, Jun-14
Sugar beets, smoothroot germplasm, Mar-17
Sugarcane, bred to benefit Everglades, Dec-8
Sunn hemp, fast-growing Tropic Sunn, Apr-23
Supercritical fluid extraction and enzyme
combo, Aug-22
Swine, new test for bacterial diarrhea, Feb-22
T-V
Tanning hides with potassium chloride, Feb-23
Tillage
conservation, ameliorates drought, Jan-4
for the Pacific Northwest, Jun-20
sensor detects soil smearing, Oct-23
Tomato, beneficial Fusarium strains, Aug-20
Tomato, flavor compound, furaneol, Mar-17
Trap cropping, squash protect melons, Sep-16,
Nov-20
Vaccine, nucleic acid, against Cryptosporidium
parvum, Jan-10
Viburnum, outstanding cultivars, Feb-18
Video thermography, measures ice damage,
Apr-18
W-Y
Waste treatment with microbes, Mar-18
Water quality
predicted by RZWQM, Jul-18
protected by manure management, Nov-23
reducing tannery brine, Feb-23
Watermelons, mosaic-resistant, Jan-19
Watersheds, managing field-size, Nov-17
Weather info faxed to farmers, Aug-23
Weeds
musk thistle control, Mar-10
on the Central Great Plains, May-19
string trimmers cut herbicides, Jul-21
sweep cultivating downy brome, May-23
tropical soda apple, Apr-14
WeedCast forecasts trends, Mar-21
Wheat
bioengineered for baking, Feb-23
bran against colon cancer, Nov-23
DNA helps catalog diversity, Jun-22
hard white, for Asian noodles, Mar-9
Hessian-fly-resistant, Aug-22
predicting rust severity, Apr-22
starch-based building material, Jan-13
understanding hardness, Jul-21
wild hybrids resist mildew, Jul-23
Yeast, heavy-metal-tolerant gene in
Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Mar-21
Yellow vine disease, in melons, Nov-20







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P Three growing seasons
away from the end of
methyl bromide fumigation,
ARS scientists search for
alternatives.



(e Naturally occurring
organisms may supplant
streptomycin sprays for fire
blight control in Northwest
orchards.


i" A key to establishing
rangeland plants may be
the kangaroo rats and
chipmunks that eat them.




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