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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // Feb. 14, 2019
Message from the Director

Welcome to the first edition of the CAFNR Research Digest, a semimonthly newsletter from the CAFNR Office of Research. Our goal is to share the exciting research conducted by our faculty, staff and students with the CAFNR and campus community and our external stakeholders. Our innovative research, which blends cutting-edge science and policy, spans the globe and impacts the future of our state, the nation and the world.

As you know, CAFNR is a perennial campus leader in research expenditures, conducting impactful research that touches on all aspects of our lives from what we eat to how we will face tomorrow. We could not accomplish this level of success without the outstanding researchers and close partnerships and collaborations with federal and state agencies, commodity groups and other key stakeholders. CAFNR Research Digest will highlight the basic and applied research that makes up the CAFNR research enterprise and showcase its incredible impact on the lives of millions in Missouri and beyond. In addition, we will celebrate the excellence of our people and share important information about resources relevant to their success.

We have assembled a team led by freelance writer Mark Esser and the CAFNR Communications Office to produce the newsletter. As this is our first edition, I am requesting your feedback. Please let us know how we can improve the content or share topics of interest to you. You are welcome to send your ideas directly to me. Enjoy!

Shibu Jose
Interim Associate Dean for Research
Interim Director, MO Agricultural Experiment Station

Research Highlights
Feasting on Famine: Fighting ‘Hidden Hunger’ and Food Waste (click to read)
Feasting on Famine: Fighting ‘Hidden Hunger’ and Food Waste »

Food engineer Kiruba Krishnaswamy focuses on preventing food loss and extracting useful resources from food waste

Graduate Student Spotlight
No photo selected.
Ricardo Rodrigues, Animal Sciences

My passion for animals started at an early age on my family’s dairy farm where I helped with milking, feeding and other daily farm chores. This experience is what made me decide to become an animal scientist. Always looking for the best opportunities, I was invited during my last semester at Sao Paulo State University (Brazil) to come to the University of Missouri to assist with ongoing research in the Division of Animal Sciences. The experience here was amazing, so I decided to stay and pursue my graduate education. I was accepted at MU to pursue my master’s degree, and now I am nearing completion of my PhD in Animal Sciences.

Previous interests and experiences, as well as extreme weather events, inspired me to investigate the heat stress-milk production paradigm, with a primary focus on understanding the role of the mammary gland during heat stress. My studies especially emphasized regulation of local mammary blood flow, trans-mammary arteriovenous differences in nutrients and other metabolites, and milk composition. In addition, I have active collaborations on related research investigating the roles of the immune system and of the microbiome during heat stress.

Concomitant with my doctoral research, I had the opportunity to coordinate and collaborate on research projects to evaluate the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying the metabolism and immune system of dairy cows, beef steers and broiler chickens exposed to nutritional and environmental challenges.

Farms and Centers
How Sweet It Is! (click to read)
How Sweet It Is!

Students, staff, faculty, and friends came out February 2, 2019, to help tap maple trees for sap that will be turned into syrup at the Baskett Research Center, a 2,300-acre forest farm near Ashland, Mo., that is home to more than 80 species of trees. The maple syrup season typically runs from January to March. Read more about the sap collection process.

Throwback Thursday (click to read)
Throwback Thursday

Did you know that Leon Schumacher, professor, agricultural systems management, played a key role in making biodiesel popular in the United States? This 1991 Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel is the first passenger vehicle fueled with biodiesel in the U.S. The Mizzou Experiment Station helped fund the purchase of the pickup, and it was put into operation by Missouri Foundation Seed in 1991. The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council provided approximately $22,000 to Mizzou to fund biodiesel purchase and hire a technician to help manage fueling and data collection. The only modification Mizzou technicians made was to install a second fuel tank to allow travel to the Fisher Delta Research Center in the Missouri Bootheel. The pickup operated for 100,000 miles on 100 percent biodiesel. During that time, fuel samples were analyzed, the engine oil was sampled and analyzed, and fuel economy and horsepower testing were conducted, and the results were reported to the funding agency.

Research Roars

CAFNR faculty members have received the following recent grants (listed by Principal Investigator)

Pengyin Chen, Discovering and Deploying Novel Soybean Genes that Provide Durable Resistance to Multiple Nematode Species, 10/1/2018 – 9/30/2019, $95,840, University of Georgia

Felix Fritschi, Improving Soybean Photosynthesis and Yield Using a Transgenic Approach, 1/1/2018 – 12/31/2019, $54,930, Zeakal Inc.

Minviluz (Bing) Stacey, Non-Transgenic Generation of Herbicide Resistance in Soybean Using CRISPR Base Editing, 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2021, $25,000, Ohio State University

Gene Stevens, Cotton Nitrogen Management with Urea and Controlled-Release Fertilizer Mixtures on Silt Loam Soil, 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019, $11,200, Cotton Inc.

William Wiebold, Developing Unique, Genetically Diverse New Varieties of Soybeans that Combine Elevated Concentrations of Protein with High Yields, 10/1/2018 – 7/31/2019, $38,200, USDA  Agricultural Research Service

Provided by the MU Office of Research

Featured Photo

The photo featured in the header is from Life Sciences Quest, a summer academy for high school students interested in agriculture and how it impacts our daily lives. The academy is put on by CAFNR, and sponsored by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Applications for this year’s event are now open for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.