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WSU Scientists to Receive $5 Million in New Research Funds

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University scientists fared well in competitive grants announced Wednesday by Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.

Ralph Cavalieri, director of the WSU Agricultural Research Center, said four WSU scientists received grants totaling $5,010,051.

The money was awarded under the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems, which selected 86 projects from almost 1,000 proposals.

Wednesday, Glickman announced awards totaling $113 million to more than 500 scientists and educators to find science-based solutions to problems in such fields as genomics, biotechnology and natural resource management.

Awarded to WSU faculty were:

–$2,500,000 to Jay Brunner, director of the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center at Wenatchee, to expand a successful codling-moth-control program. Funds will be used over a four-year period to build a multi-tactic pheromone-based pest management system for use in orchards throughout the western United States.

Brunner said the codling moth leaves worms in apples and pears. Traditionally, more insecticides have been used to control codling moth than any other pest in western orchards. Some of these insecticides are classified as highly toxic.

Between 1995-1999, Brunner’s Codling Moth Areawide Management Project, or CAMP, has reduced use of insecticides to control codling moth by 75 percent. CAMP employs a selective, non-toxic approach that disrupts mating.

The primary emphasis of Brunner’s program is to create an orchard environment that favors biological control agents. The program currently operates in some areas of Washington, Oregon and California.

–$1,280,145 to Richard Carkner, an agricultural economist at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, for a four-year project to develop understanding, evaluate and improve direct marketing systems for small farms.

Carkner said small-scale farms in Washington, Oregon and Idaho struggle to be profitable in today’s food marketing system. His proposal is to study the potential for direct marketing to help small farms be economically sustainable.

–$1,207,629 to Juming Tang, Biological Systems Engineering, for a four-year research project that involves use of electromagnetic energy as a non-chemical post-harvest pest control in fruits and nuts. The goal is to achieve pest control while avoiding pesticide contamination worries.

Tang will study use of electromagnetic energy to kill codling moth, spider mites, Mexican fruit fly, navel orangeworm, Indianmeal moth, and apple maggot. He also will design effective energy delivery methods and describe the thermal response of cherries, apples, walnuts, almonds, pears, grapefruits and oranges to various temperature exposures to determine the thermal tolerance for each commodity.

He also will develop preliminary treatment procedures under commercial conditions and conduct preliminary studies in packing houses to determine whether the procedures are effective and practical under commercial conditions. Tang’s project also calls for demonstration projects, educational workshops and development of a World Wide Web site to promote information on this new approach to insect control.

–$22,277 to Louise Peck, Food Science and Human Nutrition, as a subcontractor to the Purdue Research Foundation on a four-year project to improve bone health in adolescence through targeted behavioral intervention.

Peck will enroll 150 adolescent girls and an unknown number of adolescent boys in a study designed to increase calcium consumption and improve bone health.

Cavalieri said the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems is a new research funding program authorized by Congress for Fiscal Year 2000. “This important new program provides funds for research projects that affect the safety of the food supply, the integrity of the environment, and the future of the farm economy at a critical time when world population is growing rapidly and the agricultural sector is facing strong competitive pressures internationally,” Cavalieri said.

The initiative is in addition to the USDA’s traditional competitive grants program, which was funded at $119 million in Fiscal 2000.

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