Iowa State Gets Grants For Corn Rootworm Research

Iowa State Gets Grants For Corn Rootworm Research

Recipients of Monsanto grants will pursue studies to find better solutions to help manage corn rootworm.

Monsanto Company announced on February 25 that six recipients will be awarded research grants as part of the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program.  The program was established to provide merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for outstanding research projects that address specific aspects of corn rootworm biology, genomics and management issues.

CORN ROOTWORM LOSSES: When Bt proteins for rootworm control were first introduced, it was hoped they could replace soil-applied insecticides. However, there is now documented evidence of rootworm resistance to some traits and performance of these traits in corn hybrids has been disappointing in some cases. While rootworm trait hybrids are still performing well across a wide geography, some farmers have gone back to using soil insecticides.

The CRW Knowledge Research Program is guided by a 10-person advisory committee that is co-chaired by Dr. Steve Pueppke, associate vice president for research and graduate studies and AgBioResearch director at Michigan State University, and Dr. Dusty Post, Monsanto's global insect management lead. Additional committee members include experts from academia and agricultural organizations, and were selected based on their expertise in corn rootworm biology and insect management practices.

"This program focuses the efforts of our best public sector researchers from across the United States on one of the most damaging pests of corn," says Pueppke. "We hope the research helps provide effective and sustainable solutions and management practices that help benefit corn producers."

Corn rootworm knowledge research program announces grants

The six awards granted focus on a number of items from evaluating how best to manage corn rootworm under current production practices to evaluating strategies to delay the onset of resistance evolution. The award recipients are:

* Bryony Bonning, Iowa State University

* Aaron Gassmann, Iowa State University

* Bruce Hibbard, University of Missouri

* Marcé Lorenzen, North Carolina State University

* Kenneth Ostlie, University of Minnesota

* Brigitte Tenhumberg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

A listing of the winners and background on their projects is available on the Monsanto Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program Web page.

"We were pleased with the wide range of proposals submitted which focus on corn rootworm management and biology," says Post. "This is a challenging pest and this program is part of our continuing effort to increase our understanding of corn rootworm and to provide sustainable solutions for farmers." For more information on the program and Monsanto's commitment to steward corn rootworm-protected traits, visit this link.

Iowa State is part of a new $7 million corn study headed by Cornell University

Also last week it was announced that ISU is part of a $7 million corn study headed by a professor from Cornell University. Hoping to gain a better understanding of the world's largest crop, the National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year $7 million grant to Michael J. Scanlon, a professor of plant biology at Cornell University in New York. Scanlon leads a team of nine researchers who study the corn shoot apical meristem—a pool of plant stem cells responsible for forming essentially all of the above-ground parts of the corn plant.

The group also hopes to understand how meristem structure and function influence adult corn plants. Scanlon will lead a team of plant geneticists who have been collaborating for more than 10 years, along with several new investigators. The team includes nine scientists from Cornell, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, University of Georgia and Truman State University.

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