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…)

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.

Nominations open for the 2017 Africa Food Prize

Nominations have opened for the 2017 Africa Food Prize, a prestigious award that recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.

The $100,000 prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of the agriculture agenda, highlighting initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.

The inaugural prize in 2016 was awarded to International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Kanayo F. Nwanze, for his leadership and passionate advocacy of smallholder farmers. As IFAD president, he redirected the organization’s work to focus more on making small-scale farming a viable business through a country-led approach to rural development.

This year’s winner will be honored at a gala dinner at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), 4-8 September 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire by Former President of Nigeria, H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo, chair of the Africa Food Prize Committee. (more…)

NPB video shows how to introduce peanuts to babies

The National Peanut Board created a short, fast-paced recipe video that illustrates several recommended ways to introduce peanuts to babies. Check out the video and related infographics.

The recipes, including thinned peanut butter, powdered peanut butter in applesauce, and peanut butter pureed with strawberries, follow new early introduction guidelines for peanuts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. The guidelines encourage introducing peanuts to infants as early as 4-6 months, to prevent peanut allergy.
The video is on nationalpeanutboard.org and peanutallergyfacts.org has reached more than 1.2 million people, including registered dietitian nutritionists and health organizations like health departments that have shared the video with their audiences.

 

Check out what’s new at Peanut Base

The new newsletter is out for Peanut Base, the Peanut Genomics Initiative’s collection of online resources for the peanut research community.

Peanut Base is touting:

  • The PeanutBase 2017 survey. Feedback will help Peanut Base improve the site.
  • New markers and the Arachis SNP chip: 15,746 SNPs from the new Arachis SNP chip (Pandey, et al., 2017) which were verified to be polymorphic in hypogaea are now available at PeanutBase as a track on both genome browsers, as individual records, and for download via the GBrowse track (see GBrowse FAQ for more details).
  • Transcript atlas and gene expression browser: Check out the A. hypogaea transcriptome data from Clevenger et al. 2016. This Arachis Gene Atlas contains read counts from 22 Arachis hypogaea tissues. The PeanutBase gene model pages show gene expression using the “electronic fluorescent pictograph” (eFP) browser. This shows where (and when) in the peanut plant each gene is expressed.

Peanut Base is funded through the Peanut Foundation with additional support from USDA.

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