IN THIS WEEK'S VIDEO AGRICULTURE NEWS, YOU WILL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT JUST ONE OF A DOZEN PACKING PLANTS
LOCATED IN YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA, AND SINCE THIS INTERVIEW, THE PACKING PLANT CALLED NEW STAR HAS MOVED TO
LARGER QUARTERS IN YUMA COUNTY.
Video From the Field with NAFB Farm Broadcaster George Gatley
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014
HAPPEY HALLOWEEN !!!!!!
There's an excellent chance that today is an occasion deeply revered by young children and the nation's candy makers. According
to ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween -- the evening before All Saints Day -- is a time of haunting by ghosts. Halloween has come a
long way from pagan practices to "trick or treat!" Today's prank and costume-filled observance goes back about a century in the
U.K., and giving the disguised young visitors to the doorstep some candies has been a major part of the ritual. This in an important
boost to the nation's nearly 72,000 retailers with candy displays, including more than 3,300 confectionary and nut stores. Candy
sales amount to about $5.5 billion annually.
“Groups Ask U.S.Congress
to Rescind Parts of COOL”
Agriculture and other industry groups have asked Congress to “immediately authorize and direct” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to
rescind elements of Country of Origin Labeling. The groups want Congress to take out elements of COOL that are non-compliant
with trade obligations by the World Trade Organization, according to the Hagstrom Report. Known as the COOL Reform Coalition,
the group claims such action by Congress would not undermine COOL to the extent it is not consistent with international trade
obligations nor would it weaken U.S. defense of COOL in WTO litigation.
The list of letter-signers included many commodity groups but it did not include the two largest general farm groups, the National
Farmers Union or the American Farm Bureau Federation. The United States still has the right to appeal the ruling, but the coalition
said its members are “gravely concerned” that “Canada and Mexico could subject an array of U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs.”
CAIFORNIA'S TAYLOR FARMS WINS FOOD SAFETY AWARD.
(THE TAYLOR FARM STORY HERE)
VILSACK ON WATERS OF THE U.S
The Agriculture Secretary says he knows, and has passed along,
grower concerns about an Environmental Protection Agency clean water proposal.
Please click on one of the links above to listen to this audio report
NATIONAL SORGHUM PRODUCERS:
the voice of the sorghum industry
(Sorghum News Here)
Weather problems affect nut crops
As nut California growers near the end of their harvests, many say their crops may not reach preseason estimates. Almond and
pistachio growers say a combination of drought and warm winter weather conspired to reduce harvests in many orchards. Some
trees were removed or abandoned due to water shortages. Farmers and marketers say harvests of almonds, pistachios and
walnuts will still be large, as nut producers work to fulfill increasing worldwide demand
"U.S. House Planning Vote
on Requirements for EPA Regulations”
While no date has been set in stone, The Hill reports House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy says a vote will be “soon” on
Environmental Protection Agency regulations requirements. He says the House will vote on legislation that would prevent the EPA
from issuing regulations without scientific data to support implementation. The House will return to Washington on Nov. 12
McCarthy said the measure would be part of GOP messaging to show the party can make government function.
Under the bill, H.R. 4012, the EPA would be required to make it available for "independent analysis and substantial reproduction of
research results." The EPA currently does not always provide scientific data to the public to identify the need for new regulations.
(Click here to view The Produce News)
VILSACK CHALLENGES FFA TO LEAD THE NEXT GENERATION OF FARMERS
The Agriculture Secretary says FFA members will be among those driving agriculture in the future,
and spreading the word about the importance of ag in our daily lives.
Please click on one of the links above to listen to this audio report'
U.S. may produce more pork
It hasn't happened since the 1950s, but pork production may surpass beef production in the United States next year. Drought
across many cattle-producing regions has forced ranchers to reduce herds, and it may take several years after rain resumes for
herds to be rebuilt. An American Farm Bureau analyst says competition from increased pork and chicken production could help
moderate retail beef prices
A FOODCHAIN RADIO RELEASE FROM MICHAEL OLSON ( #989)
It has been said the quality of our lives depends on the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. If such is true, we
"Can we become green, without first becoming brown?"
This Saturday at 9am Pacific, Michael Olson’s Food Chain Radio show hosts North Dakota Rancher Gabe Brown for a conversation
about soil, animals and health.
Topics include soil’s influence on the health of the environment; what happens to health when soil’s biological processes are
bypassed; and how people and animals can work together to restore soil and health.
The Food Chain is available live via the GCN radio network and delayed via MP3 FTP at www.foodchainradio.com . For clearance
information, contact Michael Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-566-4209.
Recertification and Training Course
Main # 928-344-7909
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Booth Machinery, Inc.
6565 E. 30th St.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
“97 Percent of Doctors
Concerned with Antibiotic Resistance”
97 percent of doctors say they are concerned about antibiotic resistance, according to a study by Consumers Report. Think
Progress dot org reports almost 30 percent of surveyed doctors had a patient either suffer severe complications or die as a result
of a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection. The study surveyed 500 doctors and found about 80 percent of them had a patients
with a drug resistant type of infection in the last year. According to that study, several types of farmed fish were found to contain
a type of antibiotics used in humans. The study claims feeding chickens a same type of antibiotic may have contributed to last
year’s antibiotic-resistant salmonella outbreak, according to a report by Reuters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that over two million people get sick and 23,000 die annually from drug-
resistant infections. CRE-based infections, which have high antibiotic resistance, have increased by 500 percent between 2008 and
DROUGHT AREAS THAT IMPROVED DURING OCTOBER
October is a time when areas suffering from drought get a chance at recovering.
CALIFORNIA TO GET NEEDED DROUGHT RELIEF
USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey gives the weather forecast for California
which appears will reduce the area in drought.
Please right click on one of the links above to save the audio
New lettuce variety
contains added nutrients
Its creator says a new variety of red leaf lettuce could be considered a "superfood" because of its high levels of antioxidants,
which can protect against a number of diseases. A plant breeder at Rutgers University in New Jersey bred the lettuce to have a
higher level of antioxidants than blueberries. A Salinas-based produce shipper began marketing the red lettuce this month under
an exclusive contract with the university
for AFBF Convention”
Online registration is open for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, which will
be held January 10-14, 2015, in San Diego. About 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather for
the convention, where they will hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy setting process that will
guide the American Farm Bureau Federation through 2015. AFBF’s senior director of conventions and events, John Hawkins said
this year’s convention “offers a preview of the future of agriculture.” The online registration can be found at annual convention dot
fb dot org. http://annualconvention.fb.org/
The full Farm Bureau member registration includes the IDEAg Trade Show and Young Farmer & Rancher competitive events,
general sessions, workshops and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Silent Auction. AFBF President Bob
Stallman will give his annual “State of Farm Bureau” address to members at the opening general session of the convention.
Commander Rorke Denver will give the general session keynote address, and acclaimed late night TV host Jay Leno will give the
closing session keynote address.
THE ANCIENT AGRICULTURAL ROOTS OF HALLOWEEN
Historians tell us there are ancient agricultural ties to our present day Halloween observance.
'Please click on one of the links above to hear the audio
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE AUDIO NEWS
American Farm Bureau’s senior economist see’s farm equipment buys taking a continued hit from lower crop prices, farmland
values and legislative uncertainty in Washington. A glut of grain, low prices, less investment in farmland and congress’s failure to
extend tax relief, AFB’s Bob Young says it all adds up to less producer spending on new equipment…
Right Click to Download MP3 File
Young predicted this week that producers could be in for a long and difficult recovery from low crop prices, brought on by the
crushing burden of grain reserves. But congress hasn’t helped either…
Right Click to Download MP3 File
But Young says that’s not actually ‘money in the bank.’ 53 key tax breaks expired last December, including section 179 expensing,
bonus depreciation on new equipment and a raft of biofuels breaks. Young says renewal of the breaks will likely be retroactive to
this year, but the damage has been already been done. John Deere has already laid off more than a thousand workers, saying in
August, worldwide farm and turf sales are expected to fall about 10 percent for the fiscal year.
EDITORIAL FROM THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
Farmers, Ranchers and environmentalist, all agree that we must protect and recover wildlife facing preventable extinction.
However, Ryan Yates says…
Right Click to Download MP3 File
to head off rose disease
So far, California has avoided a severe plant disease that attacks rosebushes, and plant scientists want to keep it that way. "Rose
rosette disease" causes bushes to decline and die within two to three years, and has hit in many other parts of the nation. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture has announced a research initiative to help control and eradicate the disease. Plant breeders in
California will be among those participating
AG Web News
Things are heating up in San Antonio!
Join your fellow cattlemen in San Antonio, Texas
for the 2015 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show.
We have a great line up of events planned including a huge Nothin' But Texas Party and a night of nonstop laughs and fun with Jeff Foxworthy at the Cowboy Comedy Club! We'll wrap up the Convention by dancing the night away at the Mustache Bash After-Party featuring Asleep at the Wheel.
Convention registration includes admittance to the NCBA Trade Show which is bigger and better than ever! The show features companies providing the latest in products and services for the cattle business.
This is the one event that you can't afford to miss!
A SECOND BEEF CHECK-OFF BEING DEVELOPED
The Agriculture Secretary is moving forward with plans to create a second producer-funded beef check-off program.
Please right click on one of the links above to save the audio
DROVER'S CATTLE NETWORK
Commentary: The Big
Fat Surprise: Part
The most common
argument used to
attack the benefits
of a diet that
proteins is the
notion that ‘the
better.’ Here’s why
that’s all wrong.
FULL STORY »
AG Web CATTLE
RESEARCH in AGRICULTURE
ARS ecologist Jason Karl and his collaborators have developed a new literature search engine called "JournalMap," which identifies scientific papers by research locations. Image courtesy of NASA.
Literature Searches Benefit
from Location Tagging
Conducting literature searches for scientific papers just got more comprehensive, thanks
to innovations by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) ecologist Jason Karl and his collaborators have developed a search engine called
"JournalMap," which identifies scientific papers of interest by research locations and
physical site variables. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
Articles in the JournalMap citation index are "geotagged" based on locations reported in the study and then plotted on
a world map. This means that scientists can use JournalMap to search for environmental literature thematically and geographically by selecting a location on a map.
This new approach to combing through scientific literature can help researchers adapt published research and data for investigations in similar ecosystems where formal studies of environmental parameters are relatively sparse. The
environmental factors tagged in JournalMap include a range of weather-related data, landform characteristics, soil
characteristics and types of land cover.
Karl and his collaborators are also working with Taylor & Francis, a publisher of over 1,600 journals, to build literature
geotagging into the publication process and to enable geographic literature searching across entire journal archives.
Initially, this effort focused on geotagging the archives of three journals, including the Journal of Natural History, which
has been published since 1838. The partnership now includes geotagging articles automatically when they are submitted
for publication and standardizing how locations are reported.
The JournalMap citation index currently contains over 12,000 published papers from around 300 journals with more articles
being added on a regular basis. Karl and his collaborators are continuing to refine JournalMap by expanding the content of available journals and papers. Authors and researchers are also able to upload their own geotagged articles to the
JournalMap citation index and create their own georeferenced article collections at www.journalmap.org.
Karl works at the ARS Range Management Research Unit in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The researchers published a report
on the development of the citation database in BioScience in 2013.
Unique 3-D images of oats are giving new information about what happens when ice crystals form in roots and crowns, which may allow hardier varieties to be bred one day.
|Watch a video (1:50)
New Imaging Technique
Leads to Better Understanding of Freezing in Plants
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agronomist in North Carolina has used an imaging technique he developed to uncover fresh details about what happens to oats when they freeze. The work by David P. Livingston, who is with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Raleigh, has implications for growers.
Oats, for instance, won’t grow in many northern areas because of cold temperatures, and Livingston’s technique is helping scientists understand how ice forms in oats. That could help breeders develop
hardier varieties of oats and expand their range. Livingston also has used the technique to examine
barley, rye and corn.
The technique involves making high-resolution digital photos of slices of plant tissues and using commercial software to create a 3-dimensional perspective. The resulting images give added depth to plant structures, above and below ground. Livingston’s images are somewhat similar to images produced by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. But, Livingston can create them from much smaller tissue samples and at a lower cost.
In recent work, Livingston, who is with the ARS Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, stained frozen tissue samples of oat plants and took 186 sequential images as part of a study to see how they would react to freezing temperatures in the soil. He then aligned the images and used imaging software to clear away the background colors so he could focus on cavities formed by ice crystals in the crown tissues of the oats. He then compared images from frozen plants with those from plants kept at normal temperatures.
The images revealed that when oats freeze in winter, ice forms in the roots and portions of the crown, which lies just below the soil surface and connects the roots to the stalk. The images also showed that the ice in the crown is limited to its lowest and upper level parts, apparently leaving the middle portion ice-free—at least free of crystals big enough to visualize. The crown is critical to growth because that is where the plant generates new tissue if it survives the winter cold. The results were published in 2014 in Environmental and Experimental Botany and included a video available at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/video/mov/freezeplants.mov
Materials engineer Chris Delhom (left) and technician E.J. Deshotel examine miniature spinning equipment that is part of ARSā€™ new ā€œreimaginedā€� cotton production pilot plant, which can now handle as little as 1-2 ounce cotton samples.
Assessing Cotton Fiber Quality from a Tiny Sample
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot plant for studying cotton textiles located at the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been upgraded. Materials engineer Christopher Delhom has successfully “reimagined” some of the pilot plant’s cotton processing equipment. He outfitted model cotton-spinning equipment to be able to spin as little as 30-60 grams (1-2 ounces) of cotton fibers grown from selected experimental seeds. The equipment is capable of taking a very small fiber sample grown from test seeds and processing those fibers all the way through the milling process into yarn and fabrics.
The SRRC is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)—the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.
The tiny batch of fibers can be quickly tested to gauge the new varieties’ fiber performance and viability for use on standard equipment and in textiles. Delhom and James Rodgers, who heads the ARS Cotton Structure and Quality Research Unit at SRRC, note that the pilot plant’s new miniature processing equipment accomplishes in 2 weeks what would take months to test on a full-scale industrial fleet of textile machinery. In the past, this kind of testing took place at a pace of less than 200 samples per year, using samples weighing from 25 to 150 pounds each.
Cotton grows and performs differently based on region and seed genetics. Large-scale processing equipment is customized to accommodate regional features. But, a small change in seed breed can greatly affect cotton fiber quality during processing and through to finished fabric. Getting timely information about the processing performance of new cotton varieties is key.
The pilot plant’s miniature-spinning equipment is being used to process fiber samples in the National Cotton Variety Trials, which is an ARS-led national trial of varieties involving U.S. breeders. Read more about the cotton textile pilot plant upgrades in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Smart and sometimes funny cartoon characters in Teen Choice: Food and Fitness videos may help real-life teens eat more veggies, according to an ARS-funded study. Image courtesy of Archimage Inc., Houston, Texas.
Fun, Friendly Website
Helps Teens Eat More Veggies
Videos featuring animated-cartoon teens learning about nutrition may help real-life teens eat more veggies, according to a study by scientists funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The smart and sometimes funny cartoon teens appear in short videos that are part of the experimental, science-based "Teen Choice: Food and Fitness" website. Nutrition and behavioral science researchers Karen W. Cullen and Deborah J. Thompson of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, and Richard Buday and colleagues at Archimage, Inc., also in Houston, created the site in collaboration with hundreds of 'tween and teen volunteers.
Featured in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the site was developed to motivate adolescents to make better food choices and to be less sedentary.
The scientists first sought the input of some 100 young volunteers who shared their ideas about how to make the site easy to navigate, informative and relevant.
In follow-up research, 400 teen volunteers were asked to visit the site at least once a week for 8 weeks, peruse its information about food and nutrition, set a nutrition or fitness goal, and check their progress weekly.
The volunteers' log-on rate averaged 75 percent—regarded as "high" for an education-focused Internet site, according to Cullen.
Also, more of the volunteers who had access to the site's interactive features—including the cartoon videos and a blog—reported eating three or more servings of veggies in the past week than did volunteers whose access didn't include these and other interactive options. That's important, because getting kids to eat more veggies is apparently more difficult than getting them to eat more servings of fruit, for instance.
The scientists, who hope to make the website publicly available, documented their research in peer-reviewed articles published in 2012 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and in 2013 in Health Education Journal.
The Children's Nutrition Research Center is a joint venture of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital—both in Houston—and ARS, which is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
The studies support the USDA priority of enhancing children's health and nutrition, and were funded by ARS and USDA National Research Initiative grant #2007-55215-17998
Click the image for latest issue.
of Healthy Animals Now Online
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) today posted a new issue of Healthy Animals. This semi-annual online newsletter is a compilation of ARS news and expert resources on the health and well-being of agricultural livestock, poultry and fish.
Twice a year, one article in Healthy Animals focuses on a particular element of ARS animal research. The current issue features research to help keep rainbow trout healthy by breeding for disease-resistant fish and producing plant-based fish feed ingredients that are high in protein.
Other research highlighted in this issue includes the following:
• ARS scientists discover mosquito taste receptor that is sensitive to insect repellents.
• Study shows that a bacteria-derived protein kills intestinal roundworm larvae in pigs.
• Years of USDA data give insight to how seasonal weather patterns affect cattle production.
• Researchers synthesize the chemical structure of a pheromone used by brown marmorated stink bugs to attract others.
Professionals interested in animal health issues might want to bookmark the site as a resource for locating animal health experts. An index lists ARS research locations covering 70 animal health topics. These range from specific diseases, such as Lyme disease, to broad subjects such as nutrition or parasites.
The site also provides complete contact information for the 25 ARS research groups that conduct studies aimed at protecting and improving farm animal health.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
ARS postdoctoral researcher Dong Cha (left) and ARS entomologist Peter Landolt have isolated chemicals from wine and vinegar that attract Drosophila flies. Click the image for more information about it.
Fruit Pest's Favorite Aromas
Turned Against It
A blend of odors that attracts spotted wing drosophila flies (SWD) has been developed into a new lure product for improved monitoring and control of these tree-fruit and berry pests.
The blend is a combination of four different chemicals found in the aromas of both wine and vinegar. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist Peter Landolt and research associate Dong Cha, along with their Oregon Department of Agriculture colleagues, isolated the chemicals and evaluated them extensively in laboratory and field trials.
Based on those findings, Trece, Inc., in Adair, Oklahoma, commercially formulated the compounds into a novel blend and controlled-release lure, which is marketed under the trademark "PHERO-CON SWD," along with a related trap.
According to Landolt, with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Wapato, Washington, farmers and pest managers need improved methods of attracting, monitoring and managing the flies to prevent potential losses of cherries, berries, grapes and other fruit crops. The lure's availability should provide growers with better information to use in making pest-management decisions, such as where, when or whether to spray.
Left unchecked, female SWD flies deposit their eggs beneath the surface of host fruit, where subsequent larval feeding causes it to soften, bruise and wrinkle, notes Landolt, who is in the ARS Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit at Wapato.
Capturing SWD with lures containing wine and vinegar isn't a new approach. But Landolt's group was first to conduct a top-down examination of which chemical constituents in the liquids' aromas attract specifically these flies.
In extensive testing, they showed that ethanol alone was less attractive than wine, and acetic acid alone was less attractive than vinegar. Similarly, combinations of ethanol and acetic acid were also less attractive to the flies than wine-plus-vinegar blends, which suggested that other constituents were at work. Of 20 total Chardonnay wine and rice-vinegar chemicals the researchers evaluated, acetoin and methionol triggered the strongest responses in the flies when combined with acetic acid and ethanol.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
ARS research is helping improve production of ethanol from switchgrass. Click the image for more information about it.
Studies Steadily Advance
Cellulosic Ethanol Prospects
The potential for producing cost-effective cellulosic ethanol that uses plentiful and sustainable cellulosic plant biomass continues to grow, thanks to research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Bioenergy Research Unit in Peoria, Illinois, have recently completed studies on multiple approaches that could help streamline cellulosic ethanol production. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports USDA's priority of finding new sources for producing bioenergy.
In one study, a team led by ARS chemical engineer Bruce Dien looked at using switchgrass, a perennial grass native to the prairie, for ethanol production. The team concluded that biomass producers could optimize cellulosic ethanol production by planting Kanlow variety—a lowland ecotype—and harvesting at either mid-season or post frost. Results from this study were published in Environmental Technology in 2013.
ARS chemist Michael Bowman led another study of switchgrass xylans, which is challenging to convert to sugars with enzymes because of its complex chemical structure. Bowman determined that structural features of xylan remained the same as the plant matures, even though the amount of xylan changed with maturity. This is good news for biorefiners, because it suggests that they can use the same biomass hydrolyzing enzymes to break down xylans in all switchgrass biomass, no matter when the crop is harvested. Results from this study were published in Metabolites in 2012.
ARS molecular biologist Ronald Hector led work on the microorganisms needed to ferment xylose—molecules that make up xylans—into ethanol. Distiller's yeast used by corn ethanol producers does not ferment xylose. An enzyme called D-xylose isomerase, or XI, catalyzes the missing metabolic step for fermentation of xylose to ethanol. Hector's team isolated four novel XI genes encoding the enzyme from rumen and intestinal bacteria and expressed them in distiller's type yeast strains, conferring the ability for them to ferment xylose.
Then the scientists took the most promising yeast strain from this first round of trials and improved its growth and fermenting capacities through further adaptations. The result was a yeast strain that grew almost four times faster than other strains that contained XI enzymes and one that could produce ethanol at significantly greater yields than other yeasts engineered to ferment xylose to ethanol. The scientists published their findings in Biotechnology for Biofuels in 2013.
Latest Update of USDA National Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference Released
The 2014 update of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27, has been launched. Containing data for more than 8,600 food items, the database is compiled by scientists at USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) in Beltsville, Maryland.
Each year, new food-nutrient profiles are added to the database, and existing nutrient profiles are updated using data generated by USDA-ARS through its National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program and collaborations with the food industry and with others.
The Internet "dashboard" that users see after launching the online version of the database has been reorganized so that users can more easily select and view food-nutrient profiles from individual food groups. Another new consumer-oriented upgrade allows users to look up the amount of a specific nutrient within any one of the database's food items. For example, a person whose doctor recommends more dietary fiber might sort all foods by fiber content from highest to lowest. A consumer who wants to increase calcium intake might sort by calcium content of foods.
To use the new feature, click on "Start your search here" at ndb.nal.usda.gov. Next, select "Nutrients List" from the menu options at the top. Click "Select nutrient" in the "First Nutrient" box to see a drop-down list of more than 100 nutrients such as protein, calcium, carbohydrate, cholesterol, fats, caffeine and vitamin K. A second and third nutrient also can be selected. Then choose to search either "All Foods" or the "Abridged List," which includes about 1,000 commonly eaten foods in the United States. Next, for the "Food Groups" selection, click on "All Food Groups" or one of the 25 food groups available. Decide whether to sort by "Food Name" or "Nutrient Content" in the next box. Then choose between "Household" and "100 grams" in the "Measure by" box and hit "Go."
The database is managed by scientists at the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
An ARS scientist and his colleagues are studying how storage temperatures and times affect the flavor of mandarin oranges.
Protecting the Flavor
of Mandarin Oranges
Sweet, juicy mandarin oranges get their pleasing flavor from a complex blend of natural chemicals. In ongoing experiments, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist David M. Obenland and co-investigator Mary Lu Arpaia, with the University of California Riverside, are taking a close look at how storage temperatures and the amount of time in storage at packinghouses affect the flavor of these small, colorful oranges.
Their research is among the most extensive of its kind for this specialty fruit. To date, their tests have involved working with the peeled fruit or juice of more than 19,000 fresh mandarin oranges that were harvested from at least a half dozen research and commercial orchards in California. That state produces the bulk of the nation's harvest of tangerines, clementines, and other kinds of mandarins.
Most of that fruit probably spends at least some time in cold storage, followed by a period of warmer storage, according to Obenland, who is with Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, California. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.
His research with Arpaia addresses each phase separately, an approach that apparently has made the studies unique among most other published mandarin flavor investigations.
One of their experiments has shown that cold storage temperatures influence the flavor of the classic W. Murcott Afourer oranges, often referred to simply as W. Murcott mandarins, but not the flavor of the Owari variety.
In other work, the researchers found that significant changes in several flavor-associated chemicals occurred soon after W. Murcott mandarins were brought out of cold storage. In brief, significant increases in three chemicals (ethyl acetate, ethyl propanoate and ethyl 2-methylpropanoate) that belong to a class known as ethyl esters occurred within the first 24 hours after the mandarins were moved from 41-degree Fahrenheit storage into 68-degree Fahrenheit storage. Significant increases in a fourth ethyl ester, ethyl 2-methylbutanoate, took place a day later.
All four ethyl esters are thought to contribute to a sweet, fruity aroma, which may have a role in what is perceived as flavor. However, it has been suggested that high levels of these four compounds may contribute to off-flavor. The team's ongoing studies might help pinpoint optimal levels of the four chemicals.
Read more about this research in the October 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Obenland, Arpaia, ARS statistician Bruce Mackey at Albany, California, and Arpaia’s University of California colleagues Sue Collin and James Sievert published these findings in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology in 2011 and 2013.
Financial support for the research has come from the California Citrus Research Board, a grant from the U.S. Israel Binational Research and Development Fund, and ARS.
ARS scientists are field testing a new disease-resistant rainbow trout. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org.
Detecting and Preventing Disease
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are taking their studies to the field to gauge the survival rate of a new line of rainbow trout that is resistant to bacterial cold-water disease.
The disease often kills young, smaller cold-water fish species and impairs growth and yield in larger, older fish. In addition to developing a disease-resistant trout line, researchers at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture (NCCCWA) in Leetown, West Virginia, created a susceptible line and a control line to use in studies.
Molecular biologist Greg Wiens and geneticist Timothy Leeds at NCCCWA recently evaluated the three trout lines in field trials. Partnering with the aquaculture industry and government stakeholders, they measured performance of trout under farm conditions before and after natural exposure to the pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum, which causes bacterial cold-water disease. The rate of survival for the disease-resistant line was higher, and fewer disease-resistant fish harbored the pathogen in their internal tissues compared with the control and susceptible fish.
A highly sensitive real-time polymerase chain (PCR) reaction test, developed by Wiens and postdoctoral fellow David Marancik, was used to confirm that the resistant trout line did not harbor any detectable pathogen. The PCR recognizes a unique gene sequence found only in pathogen and accurately measures small amounts of it in fish tissue.
In other studies, scientists identified a genetic link between a physical trait—spleen size—and specific disease resistance in fish. Wiens and research geneticist Yniv Palti found common genetic regions in trout that influence both spleen size and disease resistance, and they are conducting further research to identify the genes that are responsible.
Read more about this research in the October issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.