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Plant Production and Protection- Biology

Background
 
The objective of this topic area is to examine means of enhancing crop production by applying biological approaches to reduce the impact of harmful agents, develop new methods for plant improvement, and apply traditional plant breeding methods and new technologies to develop new food and non-food crop plants, as well as new genotypes of existing crop plants with characteristics that allow their use in new commercial applications. This topic area supports the following National Challenge Areas: Food Security; Climate Variability and Change; Bioenergy; and Food Safety.
 
FY2016 Research Priorities:
 
Examples of appropriate subtopics for research applications from small businesses include, but are not limited to the following:
 
1.Plant improvement?Improved crop production using traditional plant breeding and biotechnology, including but not limited to, molecular biology, and mutagenesis, genomics, tissue culture, and/or embryogenes is to produce crops with new or improved quality, yield, agronomic, horticultural, value- added, and/or economic traits. Topics may include, but not limited to: 
a. Improvement of commercial floriculture production -Biological and/ortechnological approaches to improve the competitiveness of U.S. production of flowering potted plants, bedding plants, seasonal crops, annuals, perennials, and cut flowers.
b. Development of new crops? Development of new crop plants as sources of food, non-food industrial or ornamental products.
 
2. Pollinators and crop production -Projects that address the health and success of domesticated and natural pollinators of economically important crops.
 
3. Plant protection against abiotic and/or biotic stresses?Reduced the impact of plant pathogens, insect pests, and abiotic stress on crop plants; and increasing plant resistance to plant pathogens, insect pests, and abiotic stress. Topics may include, but not limited to:
a. Improved plant disease diagnostics (accurate, rapid, and cost-effective identification of causal agents in specialty crop plants at the earliest possible time relative to manifestation of disease).
b. Bio-Based approaches to protect organically-grown crops from insect and nematode pests and diseases, including the development of decision aid systems that are information extensive and time sensitive.
 
 
Investigators are encouraged to contact Dr. Robert Nowierski, National Program Leader for Plant Production and Protection -Biology at rnowierski@nifa.usda.gov or 202-401-4900 regarding questions about the suitability of research topics or to arrange a telephone consultation.

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