Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

Ozias-Akins honored for distinguished research

Peggy Ozias-Akins, the lead scientist on the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab’s translational genomics project, has been recognized by the University of Georgia as a Distinguished Research Professor for 2017. Only five scientists from across all disciplines received the honor.

UGA’s Office of Research did a short video to highlight Ozias-Akins’ work.

Ozias-Akins, a professor of horticulture, has applied advanced biotechnology and molecular biology tools, in some cases those that she developed herself, to improve crops like peanut. As an integral member of the International Peanut Genome Initiative, she helped with the sequencing of the commercial peanut, which will jumpstart the ability for breeders to identify genes or areas of genes that convey particular advantageous traits, such as disease resistance or oil chemistry. Dr. Ozias-Akins’ work on building the platform for identifying these genes and selecting crosses from the DNA analysis will speed up the rate of genetic improvement by improving the selection process and avoiding the need to physically grow and evaluate each cross. Under the PMIL project, she and her colleagues are seeking genetic markers for resistance to aflatoxin, which could be a game changing find for the global peanut industry.

“Her decades-long focus on peanut improvement has had significant scientific, agricultural and economic impact,” UGA’s Office of Research said in granting the award. (more…)

Conference on Mycotoxins, Phycotoxins set for June

The 2017 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins, will be held June 18-23 at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.

The conference will bring together senior and early-career scientists, as well as students, to address the very practical task of ensuring the safety of food and water supplies. Podium presentations will include a mixture of established and junior scientists, with a view to establishing networks and ideas to understand and mitigate these complex threats. (more…)

Check out webinar on Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovation in Nutrition Globally) will hold a webinar on April 5 on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a tool designed and tested by IFPRI, that is used to measure women’s empowerment

SPRING used the tool in projects in Bangladesh, where women are relatively less empowered in comparison to the male members in the household. In most cases, they are not in a position to take part in the decision making process at the household level. (more…)

IFDC adds Farmer-to-Market training in Accra

The International Fertilizer Development Center will hold its seventh

Linking Farmers to Markets workshop in Accra from 15-19 May. The cost of the program is $1,650 until 17 April and $1,800 afterward.

 The successful training program has been conducted in both English and French in the past.

Who should attend? (more…)

Auburn releases new high-oleic variety

Auburn University has released a new high-oleic variety of peanuts, a runner-type that is drawing attention to the university’s young peanut breeding program.

It’s the first new variety for the new program, but won’t be the last, according to John Beasley, the head of Auburn’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, who was a peanut agronomist at the University of Georgia for 30 years before moving to Auburn.

“We’re looking at sources from other programs, and our program will help to expand the genetic resources available in the Southeast,” he said. “This release certainly puts us on the map as far as breeding programs go, and we’re expecting many new releases in the coming years with different genetic traits.”

Check out Auburn’s announcement about the release here.

New IFPRI report will consider urbanization, food policy

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) will release “2017 Global Food Policy Report” on March 23 in a Washington, D.C. event streamed on the internet. The report  takes an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities of urbanization for food security and nutrition.

At the event, a panel will discuss:

  • What we know about the impacts of urbanization on hunger and nutrition
  • Our greatest research and data needs for better policy making that will ensure food security and improve diets for growing urban populations
  • How we can better connect rural smallholders to urban food consumers to ensure that smallholders and urban residents benefit from expanding urban food markets
  • What role informal markets play in feeding cities, and how can they be better governed to increase urban food security

Visit the event page to register or watch the report release webcast on March 23, beginning at 12:15 p.m.

GAIA call for agricultural technology innovations

Today is the last day to apply for the 2017 AWARD AgTech Innovation Challenge for West and North Africa. Institutions or enterprises interested in applying may do so by submitting the online application form.

Gender Agribusiness Investments for Africa (GAIA), a program launched by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), is accepting applications from institutions with ideas that could transform agriculture in West or North Africa. With the United Nations assessing a cost of $95 billion for the African continent due to gender inequality, GAIA focuses on using agricultural innovation to bridge gender gaps. The 2017 AgTech Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to collect ideas and further to connect entrepreneurs to investors, scientists, and other partners in the agricultural sector.

Winners of this challenge will be announced on March 13, and will be awarded the ability to participate in a GAIA two-day boot camp that ends with an opportunity to showcase ideas to potential investors and other key partners.

Institutions from the following countries are eligible to apply: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

Click here for more information about AWARD and GAIA.

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