Crops Hold Onto Harmful Mutations That Reduce Productivity

Dan Corn, Research

Limits on improving yield and other critical traits in maize likely are due to rare harmful mutations genetically linked to a beneficial gene combination that were selected for during domestication and breeding, according to a study published in the journal Nature. These so-called deleterious genetic mutations result from errors in the DNA that occur randomly every generation and accumulate from ancient mutations right …


ARS Scientist Leads Consortium to Seek Honey Bee Disease Controls

Dan Industry News Release, Pollinators, Research

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Steven Cook will be leading a $1 million funded international consortium of scientists to seek new controls for Varroa mites, honey bees’ number one problem. Cook, with the Bee Research Laboratory, a part of ARS’s Beltsville (Maryland) Agricultural Research Center, will be the principal investigator of a group that will include scientists from the United States, Canada and Spain. ARS is …


More Definitive Food Profiles

Dan Industry News Release, Research

Methods for analyzing food samples developed by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist in Maryland capture what could be considered the most definitive nutrient profiles possible for many of the foods we eat. Craig Byrdwell, an analytical chemist in the ARS Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory in Beltsville, has found a way to use seven different detectors—four mass spectrometers and one gas and …


Alternative Antibiotic Gives Piglets a Boost

Dan Industry News Release, Pork

An amino acid produced naturally in humans, swine and other species shows promise as an alternative to antibiotics and growth promoters for piglets. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists found that L-glutamine fed to piglets produced positive growth and health effects. This news comes at an opportune time in light of the 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive banning the use of antibiotics in swine …


Bringing Persimmons into the Limelight

Dan Fruits, Industry News Release, Research

Persimmons are a sweet, flavorful fruit that hasn’t gotten much attention. That’s probably because many people don’t know what it is, how to eat it, or that it’s good for you. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators are working to bring this uncommon Asian native fruit into the limelight. In 2016, the United States exported 7.4 million pounds of …


A Faster, Less Costly Way to Process Walnuts

Dan Industry News Release

Walnut drying is expensive and energy intensive, according to ARS engineer Zhongli Pan in Albany, California. The current hot-air drying method takes more than 24 hours to dry walnuts and uses a significant amount of natural gas and electricity. Infrared—a form of intense light that’s felt, but not seen—dries walnuts faster and is less expensive. It’s a type of electromagnetic radiation—as are …