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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A research and extension team based at the University of Florida has received a four-year, $2.9 million federal grant to expand efforts to forecast outbreaks of two fungal diseases threatening the nation’s strawberry crop.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture, announced the grant Monday. It was one of 28 grants awarded by NIFA through its Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The grants totaled more than $46 million and were awarded to 22 universities and USDA facilities.
The grant will help a multi-university team, led by UF plant pathologist Natália Peres, expand its program to fight anthracnose fruit rot and botrytis fruit rot. Over the past four years the team developed a system to predict disease threats and warn Florida growers via a website, text messages and e-mails.