July 8, Dr. Anna McClung was invited to visit with organic rice grower and miller Leon Langley in Anahuac, TX. Mr. Langley is managing several hundred acres of organically produced rice and is growing 6 varieties developed by ARS.
July 9, Dr. Anna McClung gave an invited presentation to the Texas Rice Improvement Association in Beaumont, TX regarding research at the DBNRRC and on-going plans to provide purified seed of rice varieties that ARS has developed for seed certification programs.
July 10, Dr. Anna McClung and colleagues from Texas AgriLife Research Center in Beaumont hosted an organic workshop. The meeting was attended by some 40 stakeholders. Research results from organic field experiments conducted to determine ways to optimize economic returns from organic rice production were presented. This research is funded in part by a grant from Southern SARE.
July 17, Dr. Anna McClung hosted a group of 9 Federal Grain Inspection Service inspectors that were in Stuttgart for cross training on grading rice. She presented an overview of research conducted at DBNRRC as well as provided a tour of labs that are using technology for determining grain milling and cooking quality.
July 23-24, The Future Scientist program coordinated by Dr. Craig Wilson was held at the DBNRRC. This program mentors teachers from around the state to help bring science education into the classroom. Seventeen teachers visited with several of the labs at DBNRRC and learned about critical rice research issues and how scientists are addressing these problems. Several hands-on laboratory experiments were demonstrated that can be easily utilized in the classroom. These included analysis of grain amylose content using “chemicals” that can be purchased at the grocery store, DNA extraction using bananas, and evaluation of a set of 30 grain samples from the NPGS world collection of rice.
July 28, Ms. Gurpreet Kaur Chandi of FGF Brands, Toronto, Canada, contacted Dr. Anna McClung regarding possible conventional and specialty varieties that could be grown organically. Eight cultivars were identified for sensory analysis by the company.
July 28-30, Drs. Yulin Jia (ARS) and Xueyan Wang [Postdoctoral Research Associate of the University of Arkansas, Rice Research and Extension Center (UA RREC)], were invited to present updates of ARS rice disease resistance research at the Arkansas Plant Powered Production (P3) center annual research and training symposium at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Morrilton, Arkansas. The symposium included about 100 researchers and students from various institutions around the state. The P3 Center has been funded by NSF-EPSCoR through its Research Infrastructure and Improvement (RII) program and the State of Arkansas since 2007. In 2010, the P3 Center was funded an additional five-year cycle, totaling $6.7 million.
July 29, Ms. Linda Gunnell, a 6th grade teacher from Dewitt, Arkansas completed an 8 week summer mentoring program at DBNRRC funded by Arkansas STRIVE. She presented a seminar to the staff about some of the ideas and science-based curricula that she devised as a result of her experience at DBNRRC.
July 30, Nine soybean geneticists and breeders from UAR Fayetteville (Drs. Chen and Mosley) and from Univ Missouri (Dr. Henry Nguyen) met with Dr. Shannon Pinson and Dr. Ehshan Shakiba to learn about the focus and impact of the rice research, seed rejuvenation, and curation of rice mapping populations (GSOR) at the DBNRRC.
During the month of July DBNRRC was approached by three industry stakeholders to help resolve genetic purity and identity issues of rice using genetic markers that have been developed at the center that can be used to determine off-types, seed mixtures, and mislabeled varieties.
During the month of July, 3,234 rice accessions from the Genetics Stocks Oryza (GSOR) collection were distributed to researchers in the USA, Belgium, Iran, Scotland, Taiwan, and Turkey. Some of the recipients of GSOR seedstocks have acknowledged the source of these materials in publications that have resulted from their use (eg. 2014 Crop Science doi: 10.2135/cropsci2013.10.0656.)