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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS researchers find a “silver bullet” to kill a fungus that affects more than 400 plants and trees

Topic(s): Crops, Forestry, IFAS, Invasive Species, Research

Phytophthora 050515

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Deep in the soil, underneath your pretty trees, shrubs, plants and vegetables, lurks a fungus lethal to all of them. But University of Florida plant pathologist G. Shad Ali has a tiny silver bullet to kill it.

Ali and a team of researchers with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, along with the University of Central Florida and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, have found that silver nanoparticles produced with an extract of wormwood, can stop several strains of the fungus phytophthora dead in its tracks.

Phytophthora attacks the leaves and roots of more than 400 plants and tree varieties – everything from tomato plants to oak trees – threatening the Florida’s $15 billion-a-year ornamental horticulture industry.

“The silver nanoparticles are extremely effective in eliminating the fungus in all stages of its life cycle,” Ali said. “In addition, it had no adverse effects on plant growth.”

(more …)

UF Food Bank breaks ground today

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Families and Consumers, IFAS

Food Pantry 050515

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida will hold a groundbreaking ceremony today for the Field and Fork Food Pantry. The event will take place at 11 a.m. at Newell Drive, west of the Food Science and Human Nutrition building.

The food pantry will offer members of the UF community healthy, nutritious food free of charge, said Anna Prizzia, campus food systems coordinator. Currently, there are plans to offer fresh produce, non-perishable foods, canned goods and toiletries.

The university will grow food at the UF Community Farm to stock coolers with fresh produce, said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “We’ll offer student-led classes in cooking, nutrition and budgeting so that we don’t just slake hunger but promote self-sufficiency,” he said. The pantry is scheduled to open by mid-July.

(more …)

Professors emeriti continue their dedication to Florida’s citrus industry

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Extension, IFAS, Research
Professors emeriti maintain connections with the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, FL. They are:  Front Row, L-R:  Michael Rogers, John Jackson, Megh Singh, Russ Rouseff, Bela Buslig, Larry Jackson, Mohamed Ismail, Paul Fellers, Masoud Salyani Back Row, L-R: Eldon Brown, Bill Phillips, Gene Albrigo, Andy Rose, Jim Syvertsen, Harry Ford, Bill Castle, Larry Parsons, Jodie Whitney, Pete Timmer

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida research faculty and Extension agents may retire, but they’re still in the game. Look no farther than the UF Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

From working on ways to combat citrus greening to continuing to find a cure for citrus blight and even developing new rootstocks, nearly two dozen retired faculty and Extension agents maintain a relationship with the epicenter of research for the Florida citrus industry. (more …)

UF/IFAS Extension cancer prevention course goes online

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition
Linda Bobroff.  Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

Linda Bobroff. Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Get the latest and greatest information on how to control your cancer risks through a new online UF/IFAS Extension program.

Linda Bobroff, professor of nutrition and health in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, developed the program, called “Take Control to Reduce Your Cancer Risk,” which went live in April.

“This program was developed to help participants make lifestyle changes that can improve their health and decrease cancer risk,” Bobroff said. “Cancer is one of the major causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, and many types of cancer are preventable. Tobacco use, improper sun exposure and poor dietary habits contribute significantly to the burden of diabetes, and we address all of these in this program.”

(more …)

Gulf oil spill specialist more than getting her feet wet

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Conservation, Environment, Extension, IFAS
Sea Grant Agent Monica Wilson.

Sea Grant Agent Monica Wilson.

link to video: https://youtu.be/6HAVS5ex8tU

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As Florida Sea Grant’s new Gulf oil spill research Extension specialist, Monica Wilson translates oil spill science to Gulf Coast residents and stakeholders.

Her audiences include commercial, recreational and for-hire fishermen, natural resource managers, elected officials, emergency responders and managers, tourism specialists, port and harbor employees and more.

Wilson works with three other specialists, one from each of the Sea Grant programs in the Gulf – Mississippi-Alabama, Louisiana and Texas — to create a new science education program that disseminates key oil spill research results to industry and community audiences. They hope to disseminate bulletins soon about dispersants as well as fisheries.

As Wilson works with Sea Grant programs in nearby Gulf states, she and other specialists bring different expertise to foster a more comprehensive understanding of oil spill science.

(more …)

UF CALS grad to continue helping people through nonprofit work

Topic(s): CALS, Families and Consumers, IFAS
Jackie Nettles working at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

Jackie Nettles working at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jackie Nettles, who graduates this week from the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, is poised to work in a job she’s prepared for her whole life: community engagement manager for the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

Nettles grew up in Gainesville, volunteered as a soccer coach and as a youth leader at her church. She worked as a nanny and later interned at the ACORN clinic, a nonprofit medical and dental clinic in Brooker, Florida, where North Florida healthcare professionals volunteer to help rural residents.

“I did a lot of things with helping people,” said the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (FYCS) senior. “The quote for FYCS is, ‘We’re not a beaker science; we’re a people science.’”

(more …)

Research shows emotional intelligence critical for leaders

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Chris Mott

Chris Mott

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Diet and exercise can help people lead more effectively, a new University of Florida research project shows.

Chris Mott, a UF doctoral student in agricultural leadership development, investigated how food and lifestyle impact emotional intelligence, an idea that calls for people to manage feelings so they can express them appropriately and effectively.

“We know that prior research separately links the food we eat and exercise (or the lack thereof) with the brain, triggering neurogenesis and affecting moods,” Mott said. “But this study is the first of its kind that ties diet, exercise and emotional intelligence together. Emotional intelligence is about knowing one’s true self and using awareness to best respond and relate to others ─ vital for a trusted and effective leader.”

(more …)

Five years after oil spill, survey shows Gulf Coast residents are still impacted

Topic(s): Aquaculture, CALS, Disaster Preparedness, Environment, Families and Consumers, Pollution
Families, fishermen and birds enjoying sunset at the beach in Naples, Florida.  Shore, coast, sundown, fishing, leisure and recreation.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Photo Caption Below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five years after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men and sent at least 210 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, people along the coast are gathering for a three-city regional forum Thursday. Participants will discuss the spill’s effects on their communities, its lasting impacts and how to prepare for another major disaster.

The regional forum will include the release of results from a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey of Gulf Coast residents from Baldwin County, Ala., to Cedar Key, Fla. The survey looked at coastal residents’ opinions of the status of their recovery five years after the DWH disaster.

Findings indicated that respondents’ levels of satisfaction were lower five years after the spill than before it in several topic areas. This included levels of satisfaction with their community’s economy, community leadership and programs, local media, Gulf coast seafood industry, faith-based organizations and emergency response efforts. (more …)

“The Meat We Eat” a popular course that improves attitudes

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock, Nutrition

MEATWEEAT for web 042215

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some people are changing their attitudes about the meat industry after taking the popular online course, “The Meat We Eat.”

The course, intended to give the consumer a more educated view of the meat industry, started up again April 20, and so far, about 5,000 people are registered. Chad Carr, a UF/IFAS animal sciences associate professor and meat Extension specialist, hopes that number rises above last year’s enrollment of 20,000 – students from around the world.

(more …)

UF study shows seafood samples had no elevated contaminant levels from oil spill

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Environment, Food Safety, IFAS, Pollution, Research, Safety
Clam fishermen harvesting bags of mature clams off the coast of Cedar Key, Florida. Ocean, boat,gulf, fishing.   UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A sampling of more than 1,000 Gulf of Mexico fish, shrimp, oysters and blue crabs taken from Cedar Key, Fla., to Mobile Bay, Ala., between 2011 to 2013, shows no elevated contaminant levels, according to a seafood safety study conducted by Dr. Andrew Kane and colleagues at the University of Florida.  In fact, some 74 percent of the seafood tested showed no quantifiable levels of oil contaminants at all.

“Seafood appears as safe to eat now as it was before the spill,” said Kane, associate professor of environmental and global health and director of the Aquatic Pathobiology Laboratory at UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. (more …)

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