Problem viewing this email? See it here »
CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // May 2, 2024 // 6(9)
Feature Story
Five CAFNR programs receive Program of Distinction designation (click to read)
Five CAFNR programs receive Program of Distinction designation »

The five new programs met rigorous criteria to earn the prestigious designation.

Five research programs are joining the ranks of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Programs of Distinction, a designation that points to programs that help define CAFNR’s impact on Missouri’s agricultural and natural resources economies and provide understanding for how CAFNR is addressing the challenges presented in our state.

These five programs have met a rigorous set of criteria to join the ranks of the existing seven Programs of Distinction. These are research, teaching and extension programs that stand out among the many nationally and internationally recognized programs within CAFNR and align with the college’s Drive to Distinction — its five-year strategic plan.

“Each of these programs is highly-deserving of this honor,” said Shibu Jose, CAFNR associate dean for research. “I am continually amazed and incredibly proud of the work of our faculty here in CAFNR. The faculty leading these programs exemplify that drive to answer questions and solve problems faced by Missourians and beyond, and I am thankful for their dedication and the legacies they are building.”

Research Highlights
A bountiful harvest: Agrivoltaics blends solar energy with agriculture in innovative research project at University of Missouri (click to read)
A bountiful harvest: Agrivoltaics blends solar energy with agriculture in innovative research project at University of Missouri »

New demonstration site at South Farm to study the integration of solar energy production and livestock grazing.

Mittler named AAAS Fellow for recognition of contributions to field of plant stress (click to read)
Mittler named AAAS Fellow for recognition of contributions to field of plant stress »

The Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology was one of five Fellows from Mizzou this spring.

MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group to host 40th annual symposium: ’Plant Hormones at the Intersection of Stress and Development’ (click to read)
MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group to host 40th annual symposium: ’Plant Hormones at the Intersection of Stress and Development’ »

The symposium will be held on campus May 21-24.

MU recognizes published authors in 2023 (click to read)
MU recognizes published authors in 2023 »

Faculty Excellence Week event highlights 41 MU faculty, including several CAFNR faculty, who authored or edited a book in 2023.

Graduate Student Funding Opportunity
Call for Proposals now open for Dorris D. Christine M. Brown Fellowship

The Brown Graduate Research Fellowship Program was created to assist CAFNR graduate students in obtaining international research experiences as part of their graduate education. Fellowships are awarded to CAFNR graduate students who are U.S. citizens twice a year and vary in amounts not to exceed $7,500.00 each.

Proposals for this scholarship are now open for submission, and must be submitted by May 15.

The funding available through the fellowship must be used for international travel and research costs, and may not be used for other purposes, such as providing a student stipend or payment of fees. Awards will be variable, but will not exceed $7,500. Special consideration will be accorded proposals that seek or provide funding in addition to the Brown Fellowship.

For more information, visit the Brown Fellowship page on CAFNR’s website.

Celebration of Excellence 2024 (click to read)
Celebration of Excellence 2024

Four CAFNR faculty were honored for their research during the 2024 Celebration of Excellence ceremony, Tuesday, April 16, at Bond Life Sciences Center. Congratulations to:

CAFNR Equipment Matching Grant Program projects selected

The following projects were selected for the inaugural CAFNR Equipment Matching Grant Program. The program provides matching support for the purchase of major equipment that will advance the infrastructure available for research and help improve research metrics identified in the CAFNR Strategic Plan.

  • PI: Amy L. Petry, Division of Animal Sciences
    Co-PIs: Derek Brake, Harley Naumann, Eric Bailey
    The LECO 928 Series Carbon and Nitrogen Analyzer is a vital asset for the Division of Animal Sciences, designed to measure carbon and nitrogen levels in various sample types with high precision. This equipment will significantly enhance current research capabilities by enabling rapid, accurate analysis, and advancing our understanding of carbon sequestration and nitrogen utilization. This will support the current and future grants in sustainable agricultural practices and nutrient utilization.
  • PI: Felix B Fritschi, Division of Plant Science and Technology
    Co-PIs: David Braun, Ashley Conway, Kiruba Krishnaswamy, Chung Ho Lin, Rob Myers, Harley Naumann, Gurbir Singh, Ranjith Udawatta
    The Near Infrared Reflectance Spectrometer, covering the electromagnetic spectrum from 400 to 2500 nm, will allow for non-destructive compositional analysis of diverse samples. The system is easy to operate, allows for high-throughput analysis, and analyses are inexpensive. It is ideal to characterize forage quality, biomass composition for bioenergy purposes, as well as seed composition. The DS2500 NIRS system will enable proposals that require analyses of large sample numbers and also will offer practical utility as a resource for extension and outreach.
  • PI: Bongkosh (Jeab) Vardhanabhuti, Division of Food, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences
    The Zetasizer Ultra (Malvern Panalytical) has the capability of measuring the size, molecular weight, particle concentration and zeta potential of colloidal dispersions using Multi-Angle Dynamic Light Scattering (MADLS) and electrophoretic light scattering (ELS). The instrument is one of the most widely used systems for nanoparticle, colloid and biomolecular particle sizing and particle charge measurements. Key application areas include foods and beverages, advanced nanomaterials, bioscience, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, as well as paints and coatings.
  • PI: Rob Kallenbach, Division of Plant Science and Technology
    Co-PIs: Harley Naumann, Jaime Barros-Rios, Jasmine Neupane
    The Universal Testing Machine (UTM) plays a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of forage digital twins. Accurate models of forage response to weather, grazing, and management techniques can be made possible by the direct feed of UTM data on tensile strength, compression, shear strength, dimensions, moisture content, and density into the machine learning model. Such innovation has the potential to attract significant funding from agencies like USDA-NIFA and NSF.
Research Roars

CAFNR students and mentors earn Show Me Research Week awards

Over 500 MU students and postdoctoral fellows presented their research and creative activity during Show Me Research Week, April 8-12. The week celebrates Mizzou students as creators, innovators, problem solvers and thinkers.

Collaborative CAFNR research paper published in American Journal of Botany

“Halophytes and heavy metals: A multi-omics approach to understand the role of gene and genome duplication in the abiotic stress tolerance of Cakile maritima” was published in the American Journal of Botany, a combined effort between CAFNR students and computer sciences students.

David Mendoza-Cózatl named Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies

David Mendoza-Cózatl, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Division of Plant Science and Technology, has been named the 2024 Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) by the MU Graduate School.

He was honored at the annual Graduate School Awards Celebration April 24.

Felix Fritschi elected president-elect of Crop Science Society of America

Felix Fritschi, the C. Alice Donaldson Professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology, was elected President-Elect of the Crop Science Society of America.

Fritschi’s term begins Jan. 1, 2025; he will serve as President in 2026.

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

Andre Froes de Borja Reis, Yield Testing, Syngenta Seeds, Inc., 2/8/24-2/8/25, $22,704

Bryon Wiegand, Acquisition of Goods and Services – Animal Science FY24-25, Agricultural Research Service, 4/1/24-3/31/25, $109,599.60

Alba Argerich, Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program 2024-2025, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (EPA), 4/1/24-3/31/25, $73,595

Jacob Westhoff, Use of Beaver Dam Analogues in North Missouri Prairies, Missouri Department of Conservation, 7/1/23-6/30/24, $73,595

Rebecca North, Lake Monitoring Buoys, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (CDC), 1/1/24-7/31/24, $61,745

Felix Fritschi, Efficacy of UPL Test Materials to improve Phosphorous Use Efficiency of corn, UPL, Ltd., 4/1/24-4/1/25, $38,870

Henry Nguyen, Understanding and Improvement of Soybean Tolerance to Individual and Combined Cold and Waterlogging Stresses at Early Growth Stage, NIFA, 4/1/24-3/31/27, $490,000

Reid Smeda, Work Order No. 5, Bayer Cropscience, LP, 4/15/24-7/21/25, $27,720

Tim Reinbott, Do Crop Rotations and Cover Crops Impact Soil Health, Soil Water, Productivity, and Profitability in Missouri Soybean Systems? The Next Step, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, 4/1/24-3/31/25, $28,000

Kelly Nelson, Yield and Agronomic Performance of E3-traited Soybean 2024-2025, BASF, Corp., 5/1/24-4/30/25, $3,000

Felix Fritschi, Following the path of water – testing novel opportunities for soybean improvement, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, 4/1/24-3/31/25, $57,836

Felix Fritschi, Leveraging stable isotope traits to improve soybean water use efficiency and yield under drought, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, 4/1/24-3/31/25, $77,949

In the News

MU researcher tackling hidden hunger with a sizeable award from National Science Foundation

10-day workshop on genome editing begins
The Times of India

Missouri farm income projected to drop in 2024

Old farming methods draw interest as climate, environment demand them
Scripps News

Bright Forecast Ahead for U.S. Sugar Industry
Ag Info

Let's get Social!

Keep up with the latest in research news from CAFNR by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Twitter: @CAFNRResearch

LinkedIn: Mizzou College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources