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USDA Technology Transfer Report Highlights “Made in America” Research

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research generated 244 new inventions and 109 patent applications in the 2016 fiscal year. These innovations included an anti-cancer drug derived from Omega-3 fatty acids, sensors to help prevent bridge collapses, gene-silencing technology that controls mosquito populations, and hand-held imaging tools to detect meat contamination. The Secretary released USDA’s annual Technology Transfer Report, which listed the technology produced through research either conducted or supported by USDA.

“USDA’s made-in-America research gives us new technology that creates business opportunities and private sector jobs in both agriculture and other sectors,” Perdue said. “Studies show that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to our economy. Just like the crops that come up out of our soil, these inventions and innovations were made in America.”

The 559-page report outlines the public release and adoption of information, tools, and solutions developed through USDA’s agricultural research efforts, collaborative partnerships, and formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreements. The innovations outlined in the report show how these efforts have translated into public-private partnerships that help American agriculture and other businesses compete in the world marketplace.

For more information, please read the Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report on Technology Transfer (PDF, 5.9 MB).

Innovations include:

  • Anti-cancer drug: A patent application was filed in September 2016 by Penn State University researchers for an anti-cancer drug developed from Omega-3 fatty acid derivatives. The researchers received funding from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. (p. 538 in the report)
  • Protecting Bridge Infrastructure: The U.S. Forest Service (FS) has patented a method for measuring streambed variations around bridge piers. This will help prevent unexpected bridge collapses by providing real time monitoring of bed scour at piers. (p. 487)
  • Silencing mosquito genes: Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and collaborators in Gainesville, Florida have demonstrated that selectively silencing proteins in the genes of mosquitoes is an effective method for controlling disease-carrying mosquitoes. (p. 206)
  • Meat contamination tool: ARS researchers in Beltsville, Maryland developed a handheld fluorescent imaging device (HFID) that detects contaminated food and equipment surfaces. This patented technology is under license and commercial development by an industry partner and will support and improve industry and government meat safety inspection programs. (p.166)

In addition to ARS, NIFA, and FS, the Technology Transfer Report lists activities at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Economic Research Service (ERS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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