Innovation of researchers yields better food, feed, fiber for consumers

Writer: Kathleen Phillips, 979-845-2872,

Contact: Dr. Craig Nessler, 979-845-8486,

COLLEGE STATION — When the names of two researchers were called as top innovators at the recent Texas A&M Technology Commercialization banquet in College Station, officials at Texas A&M AgriLife beamed.

“It was gratifying to see that our efforts to attract and support the best scientists was noticed and honored,” said Dr. Craig Nessler, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the agency that yielded both winners — Dr. Gregory Sword and Dr. Joshua Yuan. “And we’re also proud that so many of the others honored hail from AgriLife Research and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.”

Research results by Sword and Yuan have connected with private industry and with the federal government in ways that not only pay off for further studies but ultimately benefit producers and consumers, Nessler said.

Sword, a professor of entomology at College Station, was cited for research that led to collaboration with an industry partner, which has subsequently produced a commercially available seed treatment that allows cottonseed plagued by dwindling irrigation water and drought to produce more fiber.

Dr. Greg Sword (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo)

Dr. Joshua Yuan

Dr. Joshua Yuan, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips)

Yuan, associate professor of plant pathology and microbiology in College Station, used integrated and multidisciplinary approaches to address bioenergy and plant biology issues, leading a $9.8 million project with U.S. Department of Energy to pioneer lignin conversion and photosynthetic hydrocarbon production.

They weren’t alone. AgriLife Research scientists annually produce scores of novel  developments, from new crop varieties to biological methods aimed at improving the nation’s supply of food, feed and fiber, according to the citations.

“Science isn’t just about discovering facts that previously were unknown,” Nessler said. “To truly make a difference in the world, science has to take a step beyond the lab or field and consider ways to bring these discoveries to the people.”

Among the other AgriLife Research innovations recognized were certificates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Variety Protection Office for:  

— J. Creighton Miller Jr., Douglas C. Scheuring and Jeffery Koym, “‘Reveille’ Russet Potato.”

Reveille Russet is a new variety developed by the Texas A&M Potato Breeding and Variety Development Program. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Kay Ledbetter)

— Russell L. Sutton, Amir Ibrahim, Bryan E. Simoneaux, Dirk B. Hays, Lloyd R. Nelson, Jackie C. Rudd and Jason A. Baker, “‘TAMO411’ Oat.”

— Michael R. Baring, Brian D. Bennett, Mark D. Burow, John M. Cason and Charles E. Simpson,  “‘Webb’ Peanut.”

— Gerald R. Smith, Indre J. Pemberton and Francis M. Rouquette, Jr.,  “‘Blackhawk’ Arrowleaf Clover.”

Blackhawk arrowleaf clover’s resistance to seedling diseases is linked to seed pigmentation. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Robert Burns)

— Jackie C. Rudd, Ravindra N. Devkota, Jason A. Baker, Amir Ibrahim, Russell L. Sutton, Bryan E. Simoneaux and Joseph M. Awika, Shannon Baker, Shuyu Liu, and Lloyd Rooney, “‘TAM 114’ Wheat, Common.”

Texas A&M AgriLife’s wheat breeding program has submitted TAM 114 wheat for release. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Kay Ledbetter)

— Jackie C. Rudd, Jason A. Baker, Ravindra N. Devkota, Lloyd R. Nelson, Bryan E. Simoneaux and Russell L. Sutton, Amir Ibrahim, Shannon Baker, Joseph Awika, Shuyu Liu, and Clark Neely. “‘TAM 204’ Wheat, Common.”

AgriLife Research scientists recognized for patents granted for their research results were:

Luc R. Berghman, “Compositions and Methods of Enhancing Immune Responses

Leslie Garry  Adams, Allison R. Ficht and Thomas A. Ficht, “Controlled Release Vaccines and Methods for Treating Brucella Diseases and Disorders

Sword,  “Fungal Endophytes for Improved Crop Yields and Protection From Pests

Paul J. De Figueiredo, Martin B. Dickman, Eliezer S. Louzada,  Zivko L. Nikolov and Brian D. Shaw,  “Transformation of Glycerol And Cellulosic Materials into High Energy Fuels

Tushar Surva Bhowmick, Mayukh Das, Carlos F. Gonzalez and Ryland F. Young Iii, “Method for Treatment and Control of Plant Disease

John E. Mullet, William L. Rooney, “Method for Production of Sorghum Hybrids with Selected Flowering Times

Ambika Chandra, Anthony Dennis Genovesi and Benjamin G. Wherley, “St. Augustinegrass Plant Named ‘Dalsa 0605’”


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