(ST. LOUIS): Sacred Seeds, an international non-profit that supports plant conservation and addresses the rapid loss of biodiversity and cultural knowledge, has extended its reach to Europe through collaboration with L’Herboretum whose international headquarters are in Saint-Ay, France. Sacred Seeds is a network of plant gardens devoted to preserving plants of medicinal and cultural significance. The program is administered by the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center.
Sacred Seeds also works to foster the traditional uses and knowledge of these treasured plant species, honoring their sacred roles in indigenous communities. Currently, the program connects 28 gardens in 13 countries on six continents.
"L'Herboretum is one of the leading forces in international plant conservation, and its garden in Saint-Ay is a treasure of French ethnobotany," said Thomas Newmark, founder of Sacred Seeds. "L'Herboretum is the first European partner in the Sacred Seeds network, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with the visionary leaders of this great association."
Ashley Glenn is a research specialist at the William L. Brown Center in St. Louis. "The staff at L'Herboretum clearly has a passion for ethnobotanical knowledge on both a local and global level. They make an ideal European hub for sharing the need to preserve threatened knowledge and plants, and for celebrating the innovation and dedication of conservationists around the world," said Glenn.
L'Herboretum, through The Herboretum Network of gardens, is the leading botanical association in France and is dedicated to conserving medicinal, cosmetic and sacred plants. It maintains a 22-acre garden on the heart of the Loire Valley and is an historic landmark. Leading scholars and business leaders have joined in The Herboretum Association, and it enjoys the patronage of The Alban Muller Group, a leading specialist in natural extracts in France. Alban Muller, President of The Alban Muller Group, expressed his enthusiastic support for the collaboration with Sacred Seeds. "Sacred Seeds has an exceptional international network of Sacred Seeds Sanctuaries, and together with L'Herboretum's network we will have participating gardens around the world. Both organizations feel the deep responsibility to protect the biodiversity of life, and we have pledged to share knowledge, skills, and resources to more rapidly achieve our shared missions."
Sacred Seeds is managed at the William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the largest and most active botanical research institutes in the world. The William L. Brown Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden is dedicated to the study of useful plants and the relationships between humans, plants and the environment. Scientists strive to conserve plant species for the benefit of future generations.
The Missouri Botanical Garden (an ASHS Horticiultural Landmark) is one of the three largest plant science programs in the world. The Garden’s work focuses its work on areas that are rich in biodiversity yet threatened by habitat destruction, and operates the world’s most active research and training programs in tropical botany. Garden scientists collaborate with local institutions, schools and indigenous peoples to understand plants, create awareness, offer alternatives and craft conservation strategies. The Missouri Botanical Garden is striving for a world that can sustain us without sacrificing prosperity for future generations, a world where people share a commitment to managing biological diversity for the common benefit. Learn more at www.mobot.org.
Release dated 5-7-2013
ALEXANDRIA, VA – May 6, 2013 – Do you have a floriculture research project that needs funding? If so, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) could do just that!
AFE is calling for "Pre-Proposals" for 2014-2015 funding.
For the current 2013-2014 cycle, AFE will fund $224,000 in research. Don’t miss this opportunity to secure funding for your project!
Scientific Research Project Examples:
- Management protocols for floriculture crops
- Management systems for diseases of floriculture crops
- Management systems for insects affecting floricultural crops
- Post-harvest management systems for floriculture and plant breeding
- Genetic engineering of floricultural crops
A full list of scientific research priorities can be found on the AFE website.
Research projects can last from one to three years and any reasonable but justifiable budget will be considered.
Pre-Proposal applications are available on the AFE website and are due no later than June 1, 2013.
For more information, contact AFE at (703) 838-5211.
Final research reports from previously funded AFE projects are available free of charge.
The American Floral Endowment is dedicated to advancing the industry through funding floriculture research, educational grants and scholarships. More than $14 million has been funded toward research projects benefiting the entire industry, and more than $400,000 in scholarships designed to attract and retain the future leaders of the industry.
A genetic analysis by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists is clarifying the picture of potato psyllid populations that plague potato crops in parts of the United States.
Their findings, published in the August 2012 issue of Environmental Entomology, set the stage for improved detection and tracking of the pest, as well as timing of controls to minimize its transmission of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, the bacterium that causes Zebra Chip (ZC) disease.
Zebra Chip is so-named for the appearance of dark, uneven stripes that appear inside afflicted tubers after they’ve been cut and fried to make chips or fries. Zebra Chip isn’t harmful to consumers, but it can reduce tuber quality and marketability, according to Jim Crosslin, a plant pathologist with the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Laboratory in Prosser, Wash.
2011 marked the first reported ZC outbreak in potatoes grown in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon, as well in western and south-central Idaho. Oddly enough, potatoes sampled from sites just outside the basin area—in Prosser and Yakima, WA—showed no ZC symptoms, which, to Crosslin and ARS co-investigators Joe Munyaneza and Kylie Swisher, suggested differences in plant infection rates or in resident psyllid populations.
To find out, they subjected samples of mitochondrial DNA from 462 psyllid specimens collected from several ZC-afflicted states to “high resolution melting analysis.” Using this procedure, they were able to examine the DNA for variations, or “polymorphisms,” in the sequence of nucleic acids comprising the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. Their analysis of the sequence differences for the gene revealed at least three main groups, or haplotypes, of psyllids. Furthermore, each haplotype group correlated to three specific geographic regions where ZC occurs: the central, western and northwestern United States.
The team’s discovery of the Northwestern haplotype--occurring in Washington, Oregon and Idaho--adds to findings of prior studies, which suggested the presence of at least two subpopulations of potato psyllid in the central and western United States. In this instance, the researchers demonstrated that psyllids belonging to the third haplotype group--those in Northwestern states--stay put during the winter, meaning they don’t migrate from other regions. So far, no Liberibacter has been detected in psyllids of this group (unlike the Central and Western types), suggesting that these insects weren’t behind the 2011 ZC outbreak in Columbia Basin potatoes; however, they could become infective once they come in contact with plants harboring this bacterium.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Jim Crosslin, ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Laboratory, Prosser, Wash., 509-786-9253,
Joe Munyaneza, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, Wash., (509) 454-6564,
For further reading:
Biobased approaches examined in fight against zebra chip
New agreement takes aim at potato pest and its disease-causing cohort
Bacterium identified as potato disease culprit
Source: ARS news (received April 18, 2013)
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Ithaca, N.Y., are collaborating on development of a technology that could lead to new ways of disrupting how insects transmit viruses to crops.
Michelle Cilia and Stewart Gray at the ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, and their colleagues James Bruce and Juan Chavez at the University of Washington, have mapped out the structure of an elusive protein that gives certain plant viruses the ability to travel from plants to insects, through the insects, and back into plants.
To move from plant to plant, some viruses, such as potato leafroll virus, need to stay in the infected plant’s phloem tissues so they can be ingested by a feeding aphid. Once inside the aphid, the virus must pass through the insect’s gut and salivary tissues before it can be passed into another plant by the aphid.
To complete that journey, viruses need to assemble into larger packages known as virions. Each virus species is very particular and can only be transmitted by a few species of aphids. The researchers believe the outside shape or topology of the virion plays a major role in that specificity, determining whether a virus will move through the aphid and infect a plant.
A minor structural protein of these viruses that extends from the shell of the virion is instrumental in guiding the virion on its journey through the insect and through the plant. But until now, there has been no information about these structural proteins, and such information is crucial to developing new ways of disrupting how they work.
In tests with potato leafroll virus, the researchers used protein interaction reporter (PIR) technology, a tool developed in Bruce’s lab to study protein interactions. Researchers there developed a unique set of chemical compounds, or PIR cross-linkers, which could interact with the structural proteins, allowing scientists to capture a molecular snapshot of them.
Coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry, the advanced molecular design of the PIR cross-linkers also allowed the scientists to visualize critical topological features of the virion for the first time. The results, described in a paper in the Journal of Proteome Research, represent a new technology that can take measurements of insect and plant-virus protein interactions in living cells.
The researchers have so far focused on luteoviruses spread by aphids. But the technology could one day be used to study other insect-transmitted plant viruses and animal-infecting viruses now difficult to study with traditional methods.
Released April 11, 2013. Source: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2013/130411.htm
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and this research supports the USDA goal of promoting international food security.
The 2013 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Graduate Student Grant Call for Proposals is now available online at
Graduate students enrolled at colleges or universities in the North Central region can submit proposals for up to $10,000 to fund sustainable agriculture projects that will be part of their educational programs. NCR-SARE expects to fund about 15 projects in the twelve-state North Central region.
New this year, NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Graduate Student Grant Program using our online submission system. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for proposals.
Previously funded Graduate Student Grant Program proposals have contributed to farmer or rancher profitability, environmental quality, and the enhancement of the quality of life of farmers or ranchers, their communities, and society as a whole. NCR-SARE strongly encourages students to involve farmers and ranchers in their Graduate Student Grant Program projects.
Proposals must be completely submitted to the online system by 4 p.m. CDT, May 9, 2013. Potential applicants should note the deadline, and plan accordingly, since it may coincide with finals.
Potential applicants can contact Beth Nelson with questions at