Transferring Sorghum’s Weed-Killing Power to Rice

Dan Industry News Release

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have transferred a biochemical pathway found in sorghum, which produces a weed-killing compound, into rice plants. The compound sorgoleone, secreted by sorghum, helps the plant combat weeds. It works so well that some other crops struggle to grow in fields where sorghum has been raised, causing problems for growers who want to rotate different crops …

gourmet potatoes

Innovative Approach to Breeding Could Mean Higher Yields and Better Crops

Dan Field Crops, Industry News Release, Research

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Albany, California, have found a way to streamline the process that scientists use to insert multiple genes into a crop plant, developing a reliable method that will make it easier to breed a variety of crops with vastly improved traits. The technology is expected to speed up the process for developing new varieties of …


New Test Can Determine Nitrogen Levels in Soil

Dan Environment, Industry News Release, Research

Nitrogen is the main nutrient added to cereal crops like corn, which makes them grow faster and stronger. But too much of a good thing could sometimes have negative outcomes. Too much nitrogen can run off with rainwater or leach through to soil and contaminate groundwater. Now, a simple, rapid and reliable test can determine the nitrogen amount in soil. …


ARS Scientists Are Working to Ensure Safe Waterways in Georgia

Dan Georgia, Industry News Release, Water

Scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are developing ways to identify the sources of any potentially harmful bacteria found in the surface waters around Athens, Georgia. The effort is part of an ongoing project to ensure the quality of the area’s waterways, according to Jonathan Frye, an ARS microbiologist in Athens. Volunteers have been collecting water in the Upper Oconee …


Food Waste Resonates Beyond the Trash Bin

Dan Industry News Release

Here’s a thought to chew on before you toss out that unfinished meal or oddly shaped fruit or vegetable: U.S. consumers waste nearly a pound of food per person per day. So says a study published by a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists in the journal PLOS ONE. That food waste, in turn, is equivalent to about one-third the …

stable fly trap

New Trap Better at Snaring Stable Flies

Dan Cattle, Industry News Release, Livestock

A new stable fly trap, now on the market, catches more flies than the standard trap, according to a recent Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study. The Knight Stick trap is highly attractive to stable flies, fits in tight places and is very portable, said entomologist Jerry Hogsette, with the Mosquito and Fly Research Unit at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in …


Nuts for Calories!

Dan Industry News Release

Not all of nuts’ calories are taken up by the human body; on some of them, the body gets a free pass, according to studies by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Physiologists David Baer and Janet Novotny, with ARS’s Food Components and Health Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, recently looked at how many of an almond’s, walnut’s, and pistachio’s calories can actually be used by the …


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 …