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[nafex] FW: Tropical Agriculture Research Station Celebrates Anniversary

From: "ARS News Service" <isnv@ars-grin.gov>
To: "ARS News List" <ars-news@ars-grin.gov>
Subject: Tropical Agriculture Research Station Celebrates Anniversary
Date: Tue, Dec 11, 2001, 7:28 AM

Tropical Agriculture Research Station Celebrates 100 Years of Scientific


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jim Core, (301) 504-1619, jcore@ars.usda.gov
December 11, 2001

Distributing valuable cacao and tropical fruit germplasm and developing
efficient agricultural crop production systems are two of the most important
ongoing missions of the Tropical Agriculture Research Station (TARS) as it
celebrates its 100th anniversary today in MayagŁez, Puerto Rico. The station
is operated by the Agricultural Research Service, the chief scientific
research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 1901, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the research
station to study agricultural problems of interest to the island. One
hundred years after its inception, the station is making important
contributions to agriculture on a regional and national scale.

According to Ricardo J. Goenaga, research leader of TARS, a main goal of
scientists at the station is to develop fruit production systems that aid
growers in expanding the markets and marketability of their crops. For
example, in one project scientists are determining how much water banana and
papaya cultivars need to grow on various soil types. They are also
evaluating new plantain, papaya, longan, rambutan, mamey sapote and lychee
fruit cultivars.

Today, TARS grounds contain one of the finest and best-documented tropical
plant collections in the Western Hemisphere, consisting of more than 2,000
permanently established species. TARS research also focuses on improving
genetic diversity in dry beans and sorghum.

The Germplasm Introduction and Research Unit in St. Croix, Virgin Islands,
is a satellite site of the MayagŁez station. This facility is also part of
ARS' U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). New germplasm is grown
there in isolation and certified to be free of potentially harmful plant
pathogens before it is released for domestic use.

Participants at today's celebration will hear numerous guest speakers, see
presentations about scientists' research at the station and be given the
opportunity to tour the grounds.

Other recent research projects at TARS include developing a simple and rapid
method to screen for sorghum's susceptibility and resistance to ergot, a
devastating plant fungus; selection of bean germplasm with heat tolerance
and resistance to common bacterial blight, a serious bean disease; and
selection of early, high-yielding clones of cocoa.

The Tropical Agriculture Research Station is on the web at:

This item is one of the news releases and story leads that ARS Information
distributes on weekdays to fax and e-mail subscribers. You can also get the
latest ARS news on the World Wide Web at
* Feedback and questions to ARS News Service via e-mail: Info@ars.usda.gov.
* ARS Information Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD
20705-5128, (301) 504-1617, fax 504-1648.

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