You are here: Home > Travel reports > Sharing and learning in the United States

Sharing and learning in the United States

Dr Grant Hamilton visited Kansas State University from 19 - 26 August 2010. He was hosted by Professor Bhadriraju Subramanyam, an internationally recognised grains researcher who has published extensively on grains sampling.

Apart from several discussions with Professor Subramanyam about grains sampling, Dr Hamilton met with a number of people involved in detection and sampling of pests in grain bulks and processing facilities. His initial meeting was with Dr Jim Campbell (United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA, ARS)). During this meeting the two scientists discussed Dr Campbell’s recent research, examining the interaction of pests within and outside food processing facilities. They also discussed the difficulties in interpreting trap catches of red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and the environmental influences that affected this interpretation.

Dr Hamilton then met with Professor Paul Flinn (USDA, ARS) and discussed his current projects including the biological control of stored grains pest using parasitoid wasps and experiments designed to parameterise an agent-based model for simulating red flour beetle movement. After Professor Flinn shared data with Dr Hamilton from extensive sampling of grain elevators, both scientists could see the benefit of future collaborations (together with Professor Subramanyam) due to similarities in their research. Professor Flinn also showed Dr Hamilton around the research facilities, including experimental grain silos, the grain elevator and various sampling equipment that they have used during experiments. This proved very useful and will lead to changes in the way that the research on Dr Hamilton’s current project, CRC30086: Stored Grains Sampling Strategies, is carried out.

Discussing his work with prominent plant biosecurity researchers was very useful for Dr Hamilton. Meetings with Professor David Hagstrum (retired), who has published extensively in grains sampling was especially useful in discovering different approaches for comparisons on existing grains models. Dr Hamilton then met with Dr Frank Arthur (USDA, ARS) to discuss his recent experiments involving aeration (comparison of top down or bottom up) and temperature profiles within grain. Dr Arthur is interested in sharing his data once it is complete.

At the University of Kansas Dr Hamilton met with a number of researchers in various fields including:

  • Professor John Leslie (Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology) and discussed his extensive research effort on fusarium wilt
  • Professor Tom Phillips (Head, Department of Entomology)
  • Professor Jim Stack (Director of the Biosecurity Research Institute) and Dr. Karen Garett to discuss invasion modelling, and
  • Professor Subramanyam also gave Dr Hamilton tours if KSU’s new bioprocessing facility and flour mill.

From this visit Dr Hamilton gained a broader understanding of the differences between the environment in which previous sampling research was conducted, and the research currently being conducted in Australia.

Dr Hamilton says “This trip has been important in contextualising different problems, and ultimately will lead to more targeted sampling management recommendations from my project [CRC30086: Stored Grains Sampling Strategies]. In addition to making myself and the project known to leading researchers in Biosecurity in Kansas, there are firm commitments from several researchers for future collaborations.”

Dr Hamilton and his team are already examining the data shared by Professor Flinn with a view to a collaborative paper. In addition, touring research facilities has given him ideas for possible future research.


When: August 2010
Location: United States

While visiting Kansas State University and the United States Department of Agriculture Dr Grant Hamilton gained valuable knowledge and insight into the detection and sampling of pests in grain bulks and processing facilities.