K-State funds research on global food challengesK-State
Communications and Marketing
|Through Global Food Systems
Innovation Grants, Kansas State University awarded $500,000 last spring to
faculty members who are taking on some of the world's food challenges
created by the rapidly increasing population. (Photo: K-State
Communications and Marketing)|
world's population could increase to an estimated 9.6 billion people by the year
2050, and Kansas State University researchers report that the world’s farmers
will need to grow as much food in the next 35 years as they have in the history
of the world.
From its location in the heart of agricultural country in
the Midwest, K-State is working to address local and international food
concerns. Through Global Food Systems Innovation Grants, the university awarded
$500,000 last spring to faculty members who are taking on some of the world's
food challenges created by the rapidly increasing population.
importance of food production to the Kansas economy, the innovative technologies
and knowledge generated from this initiative will lay a solid foundation for
economic development within the state and help Kansas remain a leader in food
production," said Karen Burg, vice president for research.
The funds were
provided by the Kansas Department of Commerce and directed through K-State
President Kirk Schulz's Global Food Systems Initiative, announced in January
2014. Grant requests were evaluated by an 11-member panel of faculty members and
students from disciplines across the university. Burg said the awards help to
continue a robust research engine that is critical in K-State's quest to become
a Top 50 public research university by the year 2025.
Some of the common
features of funded projects include multidisciplinary approaches to addressing
needs in the global food system; helping create jobs and wealth in the state;
and involving students.
The following are Global Food Systems Innovation
• Mobile Drip Irrigation for Water Limited Production,
$45,000. Mobile drip irrigation is a new technology that combines the efficiency
of drip irrigation with the economic advantages of center pivot sprinkler
irrigation. Researchers say their work will help farmers maximize net returns
per unit of water applied.
• Tapping the Potential of Ribonucleic Acid
Interference for Agriculture, $59,000. This project will develop technology to
combat plant and animal disease, which in turn will increase productivity in
agriculture. It involves both nanotechnology and consumer acceptance of food
• Applications for the Probiotic Bacterium, Megaspaera
elsdenii, in Monogastric Farm Animals, $90,000. K-State researchers have formed
a partnership with a Kansas-based company to expand a beneficial food additive
beyond cattle, to include poultry, pigs and horses.
Multidisciplinary Career-Development Investment for Kansas, $75,445. This
project builds on the university's successful Frontier program, which provides
experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
throughout the global food system.
• Development of a National Genetic
Evaluation System for Feet and Leg Conformation in Beef Cattle, $22,858.
Improving hoof, foot and leg structure of beef cattle will enhance farm and
ranch profitability, which in turn increases the vibrancy of rural communities
• Developing Novel Starch-based Ingredients with
Controlled Enzyme Digestibility and Health Benefits, $68,530. This project will
provide information to help commercialize a patent-pending technology to
ultimately design foods that are more easily digested in animals and
• Guanidinoacetic Acid as a Source of Creatine for Cattle,
$39,998. Researchers are hoping to improve the efficiency of beef production by
evaluating the effect of guanidinoacetic acid on lean growth rate in
• Beefing up the Beef Transport System, $60,000. Transportation
failures in the beef cattle industry have significant negative consequences.
Researchers will build computer models of beef production and transportation to
help lessen potential threats to these systems.
• An International
Symposium on Urban Food Systems, $39,169. The Kansas City metro area is a
catalyst for change that is leading the national movement in urban food systems.
Faculty at Kansas State University Olathe will host a three-day symposium to
increase education about food production in urban settings. By 2050, it is
estimated that 7 billion people will live in cities worldwide.
about the program in the Fall 2015 issue of the K-Stater