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How much science is in the shopping cart?

published: October 23rd 2020
source: USDA

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.

Each year, ARS scientists develop new varieties of fruits, vegetables, and other products that provide consumers with improved convenience, longer shelf life, better nutrition, new flavors, and sometimes even a whole new idea that no one has brought to the table before.

Learn about some of the USDA-created products that end up in your refrigerator, kitchen pantry, or bathroom, in ARS’s Science in your Shopping Cart, or if you prefer to listen, check out our podcast.

“Our work here at ARS is revolutionary,” said ARS Administrator Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young. “Our goal is to solve complex issues that affect all Americans and those around the world, from farm to table.”

ARS has produced a series of Science in Your Shopping Cart fact sheets on different products brought to you by ARS scientists, including:

  • The development of breeds of hops (PDF, 2 MB) that are key ingredients in beer and used as forage for farm animals.
  • Using genomics to improve the size, yield, and taste of the catfish (PDF, 973 KB) you might use in your next fish fry.
  • Developing a strawberry (PDF, 1.8 MB) that resists fruit rot, lasts longer in storage, and tastes better.
  • Unlocking the secrets of cedarwood (PDF, 999 KB) oil’s ability as an insecticide against houseflies, ticks, mosquitos, ants, termites, and wood-decay termites.
  • Creating a nonwoven cotton gauze (PDF, 1 MB) that quickly staunches bleeding and promotes healing.
  • Giving people with diabetes a sweet deal with “Sucromalt (PDF, 1.6 MB),” a low-glycemic index ingredient.

“If you enjoy roast turkey at the holidays, table grapes with your lunch, or watermelon at your picnic, chances are they come from the hard work of an ARS scientist,” Jacobs-Young said. “Our innovations are everywhere and we will continue to create better tools for our producers and better products for consumers.”

Keep an eye out for more ARS Science in Your Shopping Cart fact sheets on our website, coming soon.


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