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ARS Research Innovates to Reduce Food Loss and Waste: An Interview with Gene Lester

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency. More than 2,000 scientists at 90 research centers in the U.S. and abroad work to investigate solutions to agricultural challenges from farm to table. What are USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists doing to help reduce food loss and waste? This interview features insights from Gene Lester, ARS, National Program Leader for Product Quality and New Uses, and Biorefining/Bioproducts.

How Much Science is in Your Shopping Cart?

Do you use Roma tomatoes for your homemade marinara sauce? Do you like hops in your beer and good flavor in your fried catfish? Do you enjoy strawberries, and do you wish there was a natural mosquito repellant on the market? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can thank scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for increasing the quality of these – and more – items in your shopping cart.

Enjoy Those Strawberries Longer: PhylloLux Innovation Leads the Way

We’ve all enjoyed some delicious strawberries this summer, but a short-shelf life can limit that enjoyment. One of the biggest challenges in U.S. strawberry production is managing diseases and pests. The fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea results in gray mold, or the unappetizing gray fuzz that can quickly appear on strawberries all too soon after we get them home. Growers typically apply fungicides on a weekly basis to control gray mold as well as other fungal diseases.

Florida Lab is on the Front Lines in Battle Against Invasive Species

Despite diligent inspection efforts, invasive species still enter our country, overrunning great areas and causing substantial damage. These non-native, exotic plant species threaten agriculture, forestry, and ecosystems by reducing crop yields, degrading water quality, and threatening biodiversity in altered habitats.