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NEWS RELEASE

March 2001


AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

ESTABLISHING COMMON SEED RULES IN SOUTH AMERICA
A project coordinated by Iowa State may help make it more efficient for U.S. seed companies to market their products in South America. The project aims to harmonize seed policies and regulations in the southern cone of the Americas. The six-country region includes MERCOSUR, the common market of the southern Americas and the world's third-largest trading bloc. "The region represents large seed markets for U.S. companies, so whatever we can do to improve seed trade will help our balance of trade," said Joe Cortes, director of international programs for ISU's Seed Science Center and coordinator of the project. "The project also will help the region's farmers get faster access to more and better seeds." For the past two years, seed officials from each country have worked to develop common standards in seed accreditation and certification. This spring several of their recommendations are up for approval by MERCOSUR officials. Also this spring the group will begin tackling elimination of non-science-based plant disease regulations, which hinder trade within and outside the region. Next year, officials will work on the last phase of the project – streamlining the evaluation and release of new plant varieties. The project is funded by the American Seed Trade Association. Contact Cortes, (515) 294-6821, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.


MEAT JUICE TESTING OFFERS NEW WAY TO DETECT PSEUDORABIES
Veterinary scientists at Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine will examine meat juice from 300,000 finishing pigs to determine the effectiveness of applying a new sampling method with existing diagnostic tests for pseudorabies virus (PRV). Dr. James McKean, swine extension veterinarian, came up with the novel approach to efficiently obtain large samples for PRV testing in market hogs. Packing plant meat samples that are frozen and thawed release fluids that can be correlated to antibodies and other chemicals found in serums. Meat juice testing has a major advantage over existing methods because it can be done in a centralized location using existing identification processes in market hogs, McKean says. "It also extends surveillance efforts well beyond the current practice of testing the sow population. The efficiency of using a meat juice test in market pigs offers an opportunity to detect and quantify disease trends in a broader base of the swine population." PRV can remain undetected in a population for extended periods unless directed testing reveals virus presence. McKean and colleagues in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory received nearly $1 million from USDA to conduct the study. Meat juice testing began at the college in mid-March and will continue for three months while samples are collected from participating packing plants. Contact McKean, (515) 294-8792; Dr. Jeff Zimmerman, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, (515) 294-1073; or Phyllis Peters, College of Veterinary Medicine Communications, (515) 294-4602.


PLANT SCIENCE CENTERS PARTNER WITH EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES
Two research centers in Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute and two European universities recently signed agreements that will facilitate joint research and educational programs. ISU's Center for Plant Genomics established a partnership with the Biological Sciences Department of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. The Laurence H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics and the Freie Universität Berlin also formed a partnership. The partnerships will enable exchanges of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty. The new partners also will work together on research, grant applications, development of intellectual property and technology transfer. Iowa State's bioinformatics and computational biology program has similar agreements with The Swiss Institute in Bioinformatics, Lausanne; The University of Bielefeld, Berlin; and Fudan University, Shanghai. Contact Patrick Schnable, Center for Plant Genomics, (515)294-0975; Hal Stern, Laurence H. Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics, (515) 294-5582; or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778.


ISU AG QUALITY SYSTEMS MEETING TO BE HELD MARCH 28 IN LEWIS
"The Customer Determines Quality" is the topic for an Iowa Agriculture Quality Systems meeting on quality and supply chain management and the implications for Iowa farmers and agribusinesses. The meeting will be from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, at the Southwest Iowa Area Extension's Wallace Foundation Learning Center, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis. The meeting will focus on ISO standards and certifications. ISO, which stands for the International Organization for Standards, is a universal quality management system used by manufacturing and many service industries and endorsed by more than 110 countries. Speakers include Brad Savage, an ISO registrant from Chalfont, Pa.; Craig Floss, Iowa Corn Growers Association; Terry Tanaka, Mycal Corporation, Jefferson; Stan Johnson, ISU vice provost for extension; and Verl Anders and Reg Clause, ISU Center for Industrial Research and Service. The Iowa Agriculture Quality System's program is an initiative of Iowa State University Extension. The meeting is free and open to the public. Registration is requested; contact Janet Gardner, (515) 294-5366 or jrgard@iastate.edu. Contacts Mary Holz-Clause, ISU extension value-added agriculture, (515) 294-0648, or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778.



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