OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of agricultural sciences

OSU's food preservation and safety hotline opens July 14

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Extension Service's food preservation and safety hotline will help Oregonians safely can and preserve their garden's abundance again this summer.

The toll-free hotline at 1-800-354-7319 is available July 14 to Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The hotline remains a useful resource for food safety information even in the Internet age, said Nellie Oehler, a faculty member with the OSU Extension Service's Family and Community Health program and Master Food Preserver coordinator in Lane County.

"There's a lot of misinformation online and you have to know the right websites to get accurate information or you could literally kill yourself if you use techniques that are not safe," Oehler said. "People call us to get reliable information from a real person. The Lane and Douglas County Master Food Preservers who answer the calls have good training and years of experience canning and preserving food."

Like all Extension-certified Master Food Preservers, those who staff the hotline have completed 40 hours of training and agreed to spend a similar amount of time sharing their new knowledge with the public. Last year, 460 new and veteran Master Food Preservers throughout the state volunteered more than 20,000 hours of their time on the statewide hotline and at workshops and exhibits.

Master Food Preservers answered 2,262 calls during the 2013 summer season. About 80 percent of those dealt with food safety questions. Typical questions include where to get pressure gauges tested, how long in advance you can cook chicken before the big family picnic and whether grandma's canning recipe is still safe.  

For more information, go to the OSU Extension website on food preservation at http://bit.ly/YqgsFE. OSU Extension's Ask an Expert service also takes online questions about food preservation. Master Food Preservers also run a holiday food safety hotline every November. Find more information about the Master Food Preserver program at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/volunteer-programs.

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Nellie Oehler, 541-757-3937

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Michele Pryse, a Master Food Preserver trained by the Oregon State University Extension Service, teaches food preservation techniques and safety guidelines to clients in the Medford area. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Genome could unlock eucalyptus potential for paper, fuel and fiber

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In a collaboration spanning five continents, scientists have announced the complete sequencing of one of the world’s most widely planted trees, Eucalyptus grandis.

Used for fuel and timber, the species is valued for fast growth and straight grain. Grown usually as a hybrid, it is one of more than 500 species of eucalyptus trees and shrubs that provide a renewable source of fiber, pulp, biofuel material, and medicinal and industrial oils. The accomplishment was published today in the scientific journal Nature.

On the research team were 12 Oregon State University scientists, including plant biologist Pankaj Jaiswal. "This genome sequence will help usher in a new era for studying the biology of the eucalyptus tree. Our advances in understanding could help redefine the possibilities of improving biomass yield, stress tolerance and other traits," said Jaiswal, a botany and plant pathology professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Jaiswal and his colleagues used the high-performance computing facility in Oregon State’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing to assign functions to the tree's 36,000-plus genes. They identified which genes correspond to biological processes that underpin control of growth rate, wood hardness, flowering and other attributes.

Plant breeders can use the eucalyptus genome to enhance or suppress traits in the tree, Jaiswal added. For example, breeding for more lignin, which confers strength to woody tissue, can produce wood better suited for furniture. Trees with less lignin could require less energy and fewer chemicals needed to make paper from eucalyptus pulp.

For breeding purposes, one of the most significant accomplishments stems from understanding the genes associated with flowering. Eucalyptus trees generally take three to 10 years to flower after they are propagated from seed, a process that slows the rate of breeding considerably, said Steve Strauss, a co-author of the Nature paper and an Oregon State distinguished professor of forest biotechnology in the College of Forestry.

Strauss has already shown that activating genes responsible for flower development can accelerate flowering. "By accelerating the speed of eucalyptus flowering, plant breeders can shorten generation time for developing new varieties with improved traits," he said.

Researchers can also use the floral gene sequences to prevent or disrupt flowering. That technology could help stop the undesirable spread of the tree and prevent it from becoming invasive.

The study is also leading to a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships of eucalyptus and its relatives. OSU professors Joseph Spatafora and Aaron Liston worked with Jaiswal to redefine the placement of eucalyptus in plant classification. "We managed to reassign its position in the evolutionary tree of life," said Liston.

“The genome provides a better roadmap for breeders to follow, although there is still a long road ahead of us to adapt the plant to all of our desired uses,” he added.

A research group from South Africa, led by Alexander Myburg of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria, supplied the eucalyptus tissues and RNA sequenced by Oregon State.

Collaborating in the research were 80 scientists in South Africa, Brazil, North America, Europe and Australia (where eucalyptus originated). Among the funding sources were Oregon State University, the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative and the National Science Foundation. A contribution by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Other OSU researchers contributing to the project were: Sushma Naithani, Justin Elser, Rajani Raja and Palitha Dharmawardhana in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in the College of Agricultural Sciences; Martin Ranik, Vindhya Amarasinghe and Kelly Vining in the College of Forestry; Alexander E. Boyd and Christopher Sullivan in the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.

A genome browser and further information on the project are available at http://www.phytozome.net/eucalyptus.php.

Media Contact: 
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Pankaj Jaiswal, 541-737-8471; Steve Strauss, 541-737-6578; Joseph Spatafora, 541-737-5304; Aaron Liston, 541-737-5301

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Eucalyptus logs await shipment at a plantation in Brazil. (Photo by Steve Strauss.)


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Plant breeders grow eucalyptus seedlings at a nursery in Brazil. (Photo by Steve Strauss)

OSU calculator helps organic farmers use fertilizer more efficiently

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Organic farmers use cover crops and organic fertilizers, compost and other amendments to add nutrients to their soil. But are they getting the best bang for their buck?

A new online tool from the Oregon State University Extension Service does the math so that small-scale organic farmers can figure that out more precisely. Nick Andrews, an instructor with the OSU Extension Service's small farms program, helped develop the free, spreadsheet-based tool, which is called the Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator, at http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/calculator.

"The calculator lets you estimate how much nitrogen and other nutrients your cover crops and fertilizers will provide for your next cash crop," Andrews said. "That could help you cut back on fertilizer use and benefit from your soil building practices."

Farmers can save money on fertilizer, while also using this information to reduce the risk of nutrient runoff into waterways, Andrews said. On the flip side, farmers might discover that they're not using enough fertilizer, he said.

Farmers and gardeners who don't use cover crops can still use the calculator to determine which types and amounts of organic and synthetic fertilizers to use.

The new calculator estimates the amount of nitrogen needed in pounds per 1,000 square feet while taking into account the amount of nitrogen added by cover crops and other soil amendments such as compost. The original 2010 calculator made calculations on a per acre basis.

This new calculator is most useful for small-scale farmers and experienced gardeners who are interested in refining their fertilizer programs. Before using the calculator, be sure to sample your soil. The calculator helps you account for legume cover crop nitrogen contributions and select the most cost-effective fertilizers, Andrews said.

Read more about cover crops, soil fertility and soil labs in the following Cooperative Extension publications.

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Nick Andrews, 503-678-1264

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Oregon State University has developed a new spreadsheet-based tool that will allow small-scale organic farmers to more accurately estimate nutrient contributions from cover crops and fertilizers. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Iron, steel in hatcheries may distort magnetic “map sense” of steelhead

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Exposure to iron pipes and steel rebar, such as the materials found in most hatcheries, affects the navigation ability of young steelhead trout by altering the important magnetic “map sense” they need for migration, according to new research from Oregon State University.

The exposure to iron and steel distorts the magnetic field around the fish, affecting their ability to navigate, said Nathan Putman, who led the study while working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, part of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Just last year Putman and other researchers presented evidence of a correlation between the oceanic migration patterns of salmon and drift of the Earth’s magnetic field. Earlier this year they confirmed the ability of salmon to navigate using the magnetic field in experiments at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center. Scientists for decades have studied how salmon find their way across vast stretches of ocean.

“The better fish navigate, the higher their survival rate,” said Putman, who conducted the research at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center in the Alsea River basin last year. “When their magnetic field is altered, the fish get confused.”

Subtle differences in the magnetic environment within hatcheries could help explain why some hatchery fish do better than others when they are released into the wild, Putman said. Stabilizing the magnetic field by using alternative forms of hatchery construction may be one way to produce a better yield of fish, he said.

“It’s not a hopeless problem,” he said. “You can fix these kinds of things. Retrofitting hatcheries with non-magnetic materials might be worth doing if it leads to making better fish.”

Putman’s findings were published this week in the journal Biology Letters. The research was funded by Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, with support from Oregon State University. Co-authors of the study are OSU’s David Noakes, senior scientist at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, and Amanda Meinke of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center.

The new findings follow earlier research by Putman and others that confirmed the connection between salmon and the Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers exposed hundreds of juvenile Chinook salmon to different magnetic fields that exist at the latitudinal extremes of their oceanic range.

Fish responded to these “simulated magnetic displacements” by swimming in the direction that would bring them toward the center of their marine feeding grounds. In essence, the research confirmed that fish possess a map sense, determining where they are and which way to swim based on the magnetic fields they encounter.

Putman repeated that experiment with the steelhead trout and achieved similar results. He then expanded the research to determine if changes to the magnetic field in which fish were reared would affect their map sense. One group of fish was maintained in a fiberglass tank, while the other group was raised in a similar tank but in the vicinity of iron pipes and a concrete floor with steel rebar, which produced a sharp gradient of magnetic field intensity within the tank. Iron pipes and steel reinforced concrete are common in fish hatcheries.

The scientists monitored and photographed the juvenile steelhead, called parr, and tracked the direction in which they were swimming during simulated magnetic displacement experiments. The steelhead reared in a natural magnetic field adjusted their map sense and tended to swim in the same direction. But fish that were exposed to the iron pipes and steel-reinforced concrete failed to show the appropriate orientation and swam in random directions.

More research is needed to determine exactly what that means for the fish. The loss of their map sense could be temporary and they could recalibrate their magnetic sense after a period of time, Putman said. Alternatively, if there is a critical window in which the steelhead’s map sense is imprinted, and it is exposed to an altered magnetic field then, the fish could remain confused forever, he said.

“There is evidence in other animals, especially in birds, that either is possible,” said Putman, who now works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We don’t know enough about fish yet to know which is which. We should be able to figure that out with some simple experiments.”

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Nathan Putman, 205-218-5276 or Nathan.putman@gmail.com; or David Noakes, 541-737-1953, David.noakes@oregonstate.edu

Blueberries coated in leaf extracts have longer shelf life

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University researcher has helped discover a substance in blueberry leaves – which are usually wasted – that can be added to berry coatings, extending their shelf life while adding antioxidants.

Working with an international team of scientists in China, OSU food scientist Yanyun Zhao found that an edible coating containing blueberry leaf extracts helped delay decay and retain water, which slowed down their natural deterioration. The extra weight could also mean extra cash for growers, because blueberries are often sold by volume.

The natural coatings can allow fresh blueberries to be washed and prepared as ready-to-eat products. Most blueberries in stores are unwashed because rinsing them removes their natural waxy coating that preserves the fruit.

"Normally, blueberry leaves fall to the ground as waste," said Zhao, a food science and technology professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. “We've discovered a use that can change how the berries are stored, sold, as well as increasing their nutritional value.”

Blueberry leaves, which have been used as an herbal remedy, contain high levels of antioxidant phenolics – chemical compounds with antimicrobial properties that protect against fungi and bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella.

To create the coatings, researchers mixed these phenolic extracts with chitosan, a natural preservative that comes from crustacean shells. OSU tested coatings made from leaves that were picked at different stages of berry maturity, and leaf extracts were formulated into five different coating treatments based on varying levels of phenols.

Blueberries were dipped in the liquid coating and then dried at room temperature to form dried coatings. Nozzles can also spray the coatings on the surface of the berries as they pass by on a conveyor belt, according to Zhao, a value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service.

Coating the blueberries will add to their cost, she said, although it's unclear how much.

The research was conducted in collaboration with scientists in China, including Yun Deng, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University at the school's Bor Luh Food Safety Center, and published in the journals of Food Control and Postharvest Biology and Technology.

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Yanyun Zhao, 541-737-9151

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To create edible coatings, researchers mixed extracts from blueberry leaves with chitosan, a natural preservative that comes from crustacean shells. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

OSU's 4-H awards nearly $22,000 in scholarships

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Seventeen high school seniors earned nearly $22,000 in scholarships from the Oregon State University Extension Service's 4-H youth development program.

The scholarships are available to college-bound high school seniors who have been members of 4-H for at least three years, said Helen Pease, a program coordinator with 4-H. Members of the state 4-H Recognition Committee choose recipients based on their scholastic achievement, 4-H projects and activities and a personal essay.

Winners of OSU's 2014 State 4-H Scholarship Awards are:

Albany — Garrett Hurley, Ted and Betty Dietz Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $500

Baker City — Erin Parker, Minnick Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $500

Condon — Benjamin Rietmann, Martha MacGregor 4-H Scholarship, $3,500

Corvallis — Sheridan Long, A. Lois Redman 4-H Scholarship, $1,200

Eagle Point — Fiona Nevin, Klein-Youngberg Family 4-H Scholarship, $1,250

Gold Hill — Samantha Beck, H. Joe Myers Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $2,500

Hood River — Delia Dolan, H. Joe Myers Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $2,500

Independence — Olivia Miller, Kate Thiess Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $1,000

John Day — Hannah Brandsma, Jeanne Leeson Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $1,250

John Day – Samantha Snyder, Babe Coe Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $1,000

Klamath Falls — Brielle McKinney, Oregon 4-H Foundation Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $1,000

North Plains — Christiana Logan, Klein-Youngberg Family 4-H Scholarship, $1,250

North Powder — Christian Miles, Duane P. Johnson 4-H Scholarship, $500

Sandy — Jacob L. Johnson, Klein-Youngberg Family 4-H Scholarship, $1,250

Sweet Home — Katie Virtue, C.H.S. Foundation Scholarship, $1,000

Warren — Claire Bernert, Kate Thiess Memorial 4-H Scholarship, $1,000

West Linn — Conor McCabe, O.M. Plummer Scholarship, $700

For more information about OSU's 4-H scholarships, go to http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/oregon-4h-scholarships.

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Source: 

Helen Pease, 541-737-1314 

National Pesticide Information Center beefs up mobile presence with $5 million award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – People with questions about using pesticides correctly now can get answers on their smartphones and tablets, thanks to expanded online services offered by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at Oregon State University.

The center, which operates a national hotline, is growing its fleet of mobile apps, interactive content, video tutorials, and webinars for the medical community and state and federal regulators.

The efforts are funded by a five-year, $5 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, which announced the award Tuesday.

"The award represents a new vision for our national service that emphasizes modern online and mobile delivery. We want to be where people are when they need us," said Kaci Buhl, project coordinator for the center. "Online content allows us to better fulfill our mission of limiting the misuse of pesticides, reducing risk and promoting public health."

OSU has operated the national service since 1995, which is funded by the EPA in three- to five-year cycles.

Last year, more than 1.8 million visitors accessed NPIC's website, which received over 32 million overall hits. The service also answered questions from more than 17,000 people by phone and email.

The NPIC has also launched four mobile-friendly apps. The most popular, the Pesticide Education and Search Tool (PEST), offers quick, bulleted information on more than a dozen common pests. The four apps aim to be immediately accessible to users and suggest alternatives to pesticides for common urban pests, like fleas, rodents and bed bugs.

The service also continues to add hundreds of pages and new services to its website, including a ZIP code-driven locator for emergency services. It is also beefing up its presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. The NPIC's website and mobile apps can be found at http://npic.orst.edu.

The NPIC's toll-free hotline is available in over 170 languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Farsi. Each submitted question is handled by an expert with advanced training in toxicology, food safety, veterinary medicine or other scientific field.

"While we offer a diverse array of services, each one aims to present the latest non-biased information. We encourage our clients to follow label instructions, steer them away from home remedies and direct them to a range of non-chemical options to control pests," said Dave Stone, the center's director and professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The NPIC also collects data on pesticide incidents to inform national surveillance systems. For example, the Centers for Disease Control recently used the NPIC's data to issue an advisory about the misuse of pesticides for bed bug control.

The hotline can be reached at 1-800-858-7378 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday. NPIC's number is displayed prominently on the EPA website and on many product labels.

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Dave Stone, 541-737-4433; Kaci Buhl, 541-737-8330

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NPIC Director Dave Stone will guide the center through a $5 million effort to expand its mobile and online pesticide information services. (Photo by Stephen Ward.)
 

National Pesticide Information Center

Since 1995, the NPIC's toll-free national hotline has called OSU home and is now available in over 170 languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Farsi. (Photo by Stephen Ward.)

OSU app brings wildflower identification to your fingertips

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Information about the Pacific Northwest's wide array of wildflowers is just a swipe away with a new mobile app designed in part by botanists at Oregon State University.

 Available for download on iOS and Android devices, the Oregon Wildflowers app provides multimedia and information on nearly 1,000 wildflowers, shrubs and vines common in Oregon and adjacent areas in Idaho, Washington and California.

 For each plant, the app offers photographs, natural history, range maps and more. It works without an Internet connection once downloaded.

 "You can use the app no matter how remote your wanderings may take you," said Linda Hardison, the director of the Oregon Flora Project, an OSU effort to develop resources, like the new app, to help people learn about plants in Oregon.

"It's designed for both budding wildflower enthusiasts and experienced botanists to learn about plant communities and ecology throughout the Pacific Northwest," added Hardison, a botanist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

 The majority of species featured in the app are native to the region, with some introduced species that have become established. Plants are organized by common name, scientific name or family, which app users can identify by browsing through high-resolution photographs.

 To identify an unknown plant, users can select from 12 illustrated categories, which include geographic region, type of plant, flower features (color, number of petals), leaf features (type and shape), plant size and habitat.

 The app is available at Amazon, Apple and Google app stores for $7.99 and is compatible with all Android devices, Kindle Fire, iPhones and iPads. A portion of revenues will support conservation and botanical exploration in the region, said Hardison, a professor in OSU's Botany and Plant Pathology Department.

The Oregon Flora Project is also preparing a new Flora of Oregon publication for release in 2015. The last book about the flora for Oregon was written in the 1950s, said Hardison. The new edition will be updated to reflect the latest scientific research.

The Oregon Flora Project website contains additional information about all of Oregon’s 4,560 vascular plants. Its mission is to inform a broad citizenry, from policy makers to land use managers, climate change scientists, gardeners, and plant enthusiasts, and to foster effective use of this information by all.

 The Oregon Wildflowers app was developed in partnership with High Country Apps, which specializes in providing natural history information on mobile platforms

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Linda Hardison, 541-737-4338

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Beargrass grows in Oregon's Cascade Range. The Oregon Wildflower app offers photographs, natural history, range maps and more for nearly 1000 plants. (Photo by Tanya Harvey.)


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Screenshots of the Oregon Wildflower app:

As antibiotics ban nears, organic orchards have new tools to fight fire blight

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University researchers have proven the effectiveness of two organic alternatives for controlling a disease that can wipe out entire apple and pear orchards.

Scientists found that spraying a yeast-based product and new water-soluble copper products at the beginning of the growing season provided protection from the bacterial disease.

The findings come as organic growers prepare for a probable ban on two antibiotics previously allowed by the National Organics Standards Board. At the end of this year's growing season, oxytetracycline and potentially streptomycin will no longer be permitted in organic orchards for fire blight, a serious bacterial disease that can kill trees.

Spread by bees and rain, fire blight remains dormant in trees over winter and infects flowers in spring. Once infected, growers can only stop the disease by cutting out infections, which can prove fatal.

"In some cases, fire blight can kill a whole orchard in a short period of time," said OSU plant pathologist Ken Johnson.

Organic pome fruit growers are encouraged to test new approaches this year before antibiotics are no longer available as backup choices, added Johnson.

In OSU trials, researchers tested the commercially available Blossom Protect, a yeast that clings to apple blossoms and pears and prevents colonization by fire blight bacteria.

Blossom Protect was developed in Europe and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2012. In apples, it was 90 percent effective when sprayed after lime sulfur to reduce crop load.

Copper has been used for fire blight for almost a century, but heavy applications can be toxic to trees or create rough blemishes on fruit, known as russeting – which downgrades the value. New water-soluble copper products, such as Cueva and Previsto, contain low concentrations of the metal, which lessens its negative effects while still combating fire blight, said Johnson.

"Whereas growers used to be scared to spray copper, the solubilized versions are safer than coppers from yesteryear," said Johnson, a professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Since the National Organic Program began in 2002, the use of antibiotics was allowed to control fire blight on apples and pears because no effective alternative was available at the time.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Tim Smith from Washington State University and Rachel Elkins from University of California Cooperative Extension also contributed research. The research team prepared a webinar on non-antibiotic treatment of fire blight, which is at: http://bit.ly/FireBlightWebinar.

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Ken Johnson, 541-737-5249

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Wilted leaves on pear and apple trees are a sign of fire blight, a bacterial disease that can spread quickly and kill an orchard. (Photo by Ken Johnson.)

OSU hires Penn State viticulturist to head its wine research program

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has hired Penn State's top wine grape expert to lead its wine research and outreach program.

Mark Chien will take over as the program coordinator of OSU's Oregon Wine Research Institute on May 28. He was previously tasked with elevating the quality of Pennsylvania wines as the administrator of the Penn State Wine Grape Program.

OSU's wine institute is comprised of 12 core scientists with expertise in areas that include viticulture, enology, pest management, flavor chemistry and sensory analysis. It’s a virtual institute with offices and labs at OSU's Corvallis campus and several of its research centers around the state. Its mission is to address the needs of Oregon's wine industry through research and educational outreach.

Chien's position is a new one and has more of a coordinating and facilitating role than a directing role. The institute is led by interim director Bill Boggess, but that position will cease to exist once Chien arrives. The idea is for leadership to come from the scientists as opposed to having a top-down approach in which one person sets the research focus, said Boggess, who will continue to serve as executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences with overall responsibility for the institute.

Chien will manage the institute's daily operations, monitor progress on funded projects, oversee its educational outreach efforts, help attract resources and facilitate communication and engagement with the industry. He'll spend his initial months traveling around the state to meet with industry representatives and find out what kind of research they need OSU to carry out.

"I don't have an agenda," he said. "I'll get a sense of what the industry wants and match that with resources here. Part of my job is to make sure that there's open communication between industry and researchers and that expectations are clear."

Chien is no stranger to Oregon, which was home to 905 vineyards and 379 grape-crushing wineries in 2012, according to the Southern Oregon University Research Center. Chien managed the grape-growing operations at Temperance Hill Vineyard near Salem from 1985-1999. During that time, he helped establish research priorities for the then-Oregon Wine Advisory Board and helped OSU acquire Woodhall Vineyard. He also helped create the viticulture and enology program at Chemeketa Community College and the nonprofit known as LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), which certifies vineyards and wineries that use sustainable practices.

From 1983-85, he was the vineyard manager and winemaker at Pindar Vineyards in New York.

The Pennsylvania State University hired him in 1999 as its viticulture educator to establish its wine grape Extension program, with the ultimate goal of helping the state's vineyards improve the quality of their grapes. The eastern United States, including Pennsylvania, is arguably one of the hardest places in the world to grow grapes for high-quality wine, he said. While there, he provided empirical and research-based information to growers via a website, an electronic newsletter, workshops and field demonstrations.

OSU hired Chien because of his experience in the public and private sectors, Boggess said.

"Mark had a foot in industry at Temperance Hill and he understands the academic side from his Penn State work," Boggess said. "He's already well-known in Oregon and has good connections with national research groups and funding sources."

Media Contact: 
Source: 

 Mark Chien; Bill Boggess, 541-737-2331

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Mark Chien

Mark Chien is the new head of Oregon State University's Oregon Wine Research Institute. Photo by Stephen Ward.