USDA Highlights Agency's Top Research Innovations of 2013

New discoveries by USDA researchers lead to energy from grass clippings, 'diet' flour and GHG simulators

Published on: Apr 25, 2014

New USDA discoveries led to 180 new innovations in 2013, including flour that prevents weight gain, protections from disease for U.S. troops and energy production from grass clippings, the agency said this week.

All of the innovations are nestled in a new report – the 2013 Annual Report on Technology Transfer – detailing the scientific advancements that led to new patents and inventions with the potential for commercial application and economic benefit.

Tifsport, a turf developed thanks to USDA research, is maintained at Georgia Techs stadium. (USDA photo)
Tifsport, a turf developed thanks to USDA research, is maintained at Georgia Tech's stadium. (USDA photo)

According to USDA Secretary Vilsack, the innovations show investment in research is worth it. "Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to the economy," he said.

"We have accelerated commercialization of federal research and government researchers are working closely with the private sector to develop new technology and transfer it to the marketplace. USDA has a proven track record of performing research that benefits the public."

In sum, USDA reports receiving 51 patents, filing 147 patent applications, and disclosing 180 new inventions in the last fiscal year. Helping drive these innovations, USDA has 259 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with outside investigators, which includes Universities and other organizations, including 117 with small businesses.

Report highlights
The USDA's technology transfer program is administered by the Agricultural Research Service. Among the highlights of the report are several new discoveries:

• A new kind of flour made from chardonnay grape seeds that can prevent increases in cholesterol and weight-gain (the Mayo Clinic is currently conducting human clinical trials on the product);

• New ways to turn lawn clippings and tree leaves from cities into bioenergy;