Research Highlights

Linda Benedict  |  7/6/2010 8:11:47 PM

New sugarcane variety boosts ag industry

Louisiana’s sugarcane industry could not survive without periodic introduction of new varieties. Old varieties become susceptible to disease and insect pests, and new varieties must replace them. A major effort of the LSU AgCenter is sugarcane breeding. In May 2010, the newest variety, named L 03-371, was released. The variety was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, La., and the American Sugar Cane League, headquartered in Thibodeaux, La. In 2009, sugarcane contributed nearly $752 million to the state’s economy.
 
Scientists fight to clear waterways of giant salvinia

The LSU AgCenter has launched an aggressive campaign to rid the state’s waterways of an invasive water plant named giant salvinia. This fast-growing, dense, thick plant was first identified in Louisiana in the Toledo Bend Reservoir. As the plant clogs streams, bayous and lakes, it also kills fish. Weed scientist Dearl Sanders and entomologist Seth Johnson have had success getting giant salvinia under control at Lake Bistineau by using a tiny salvinia weevil that likes to eat the plant. AgCenter scientists work closely with biologists at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

New rice variety helps Louisiana producers compete

Rice varieties developed at the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., are grown not only in Louisiana but across the southeastern United States. The latest new variety is an aromatic rice named Jazzman. This variety is an alternative to jasmine rice and has opened new markets for Louisiana rice producers.

Louisiana sweet potatoes – best in the world

The Louisiana sweet potato is considered the best in the world, and the LSU AgCenter is actively involved in expanding its world market. We have the country’s only research station devoted solely to the sweet potato in Chase, La. In fact, there would be no sweet potato industry in the state if it weren’t for the varieties developed at the LSU AgCenter and our foundation seed program, which provides healthy seed to help the sweet potato growers increase yields. ConAgra Foods is building a new state-of-the-art sweet potato processing facility in Delhi, La. It’s scheduled to open in the fall of 2010 and initially employ 275 people. Company officials said they chose the location to be in close collaboration with the researchers and extension specialists at the nearby Sweet Potato Research Station. The sweet potato industry contributed more than $85 million to the Louisiana economy in 2009.

Hole plugging technology creates new business, jobs for Louisiana

LSU AgCenter researcher Qinglin Wu patented a method to turn wood waste and usedplastic motor oil containers into a composite material that when added to drilling fluid prevents drilling mud from seeping away from the drill into the environment. A new start-up company, Hole Pluggers, signed a license to market the product, called Tiger Bullets, to energy companies. The company is contracting with Wallace Moulding and Millworks in Columbia, La., to make the product. This is another example of direct impact on economic development – a new start-up company and taking waste products and turning them into value-added products.
 
Louisiana Biofuels Institute will expand opportunity

The LSU AgCenter received the go-ahead from the Board of Regents to establish the Louisiana Institute for Biofuels and Bioprocessing. The institute will bring together research and extension activities to focus on creating new economic development opportunities for Louisiana’s agricultural industry. The AgCenter is engaged in a broad array of biofuel research to help move us away from dependence on petroleum-based fuel. The goal is identifying bioenergy production technologies that can be economically feasible in Louisiana on a commercial scale.

Learn more at www.LSUAgCenter.com.

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