Almost in the dead center bull’s eye of the storm was the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Delta Research Center in Portageville, Mo. After securing their own operation, clearing roads of downed trees and utility poles and starting generators to provide electricity, the staff of the center went out into the community to help others.
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In Missouri, where soybeans reign as the number one cash crop, soybean pathogens can cut yields and impact the state’s economy. A research effort to identify the genes essential for a strong plant defense against three diseases got a boost recently with a new $2.1 million grant by the National Science Foundation to Iowa State University and the University of Missouri.
In his daytime job as part of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Animal Sciences faculty, Peter Sutovsky studies mammalian spermatogenesis, fertilization and pre-implantation embryonic development. In his off-hours, he helps detectives solve criminal cases. The associate professor is a member of a joint venture between the University of Missouri and the Paternity Testing Corp. (PTC) that seeks to revolutionize forensic work relating to rape cases.
“I quickly found the architecture studies program was not for me,” the senior from Monticello said. “I decided to pursue my landscape architecture passions through the plant science landscape design program. It was not a hard switch. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources was so welcoming, and the advisers were very helpful.”
Everyone is familiar with storm chasers who follow tornadoes during the summer months. One University of Missouri researcher and a team of students will be doing much the same thing this winter in search of a rare weather phenomenon called thundersnow. The research could make the prediction of such severe snowfall events more accurate.
When it comes to wine, the Norton grape has its admirers. But qualities other than taste are bringing Missouri’s state grape to the attention of science. University of Missouri researchers, together with scientists at Missouri State University and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, are investigating the genes that make Norton grapes resistant to fungal pathogens that can plague other varieties of wine grapes.
In what has become a holiday tradition, CAFNR students recently pledged their time and money to help local low-income families to have a better holiday season. The Adopt-a-Family Program is organized by the college Student Council.
Seven Missouri researchers recently received funding through the Missouri Life Sciences Research Trust Fund. Six of the researchers are from the University of Missouri—of these, three are from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The grants total $5,525,785.
Escalating feed and fertilizer prices have eroded profitability in the beef industry nationwide. With over 54,000 beef operations and the second largest beef herd in the U.S., Missouri stands to lose a lot. Researchers at University of Missouri’s Southwest Center near Mt. Vernon, Mo., have found how many pounds a cow gains per pound of feed consumed varies between animals.
Despite being battered by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, an experiment to grow rice under center-pivot sprinkler irrigation yielded as much or more of the grain as conventional methods. This new technique may allow farmers to produce the crop in areas where it cannot be grown now, helping produce more food for a hungry world.