University of Florida

UF researchers uncover secret recipe from nature for a great-tasting tomato

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, IFAS, New Technology, Vegetables


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Supermarket tomatoes that taste like heirloom tomatoes are closer to reaching grocery aisles as a result of a discovery from the University of Florida.

A team of researchers, including members of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, have identified the chemicals inside heirloom tomatoes that make people enjoy their taste, and the discovery is expected to enable them to create better-tasting tomatoes for the commercial market.

Heirloom tomatoes are old varieties not bred for large-scale production and prized for their true tomato taste; something that many believe has been lost in commercial tomatoes. The research is detailed online in the May 24 issue of Current Biology.

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UF forest resources school receives $75,000 gift to help rebuild center at Austin Cary site

Topic(s): Announcements

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Plum Creek Foundation to help rebuild a learning center destroyed by fire in 2011.

The facility, located on Lake Mize in the Austin Cary Memorial Forest just north of Gainesville, will give forestry faculty and students, as well as the public, a venue for enjoying and researching the forest while attending meetings, classes or special events.

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UF/IFAS dedicates conference center at Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Since 2000, the University of Florida’s Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra has been “an idea place” where new crops and production techniques are tested.

Now, it’s a place where new ideas can be communicated to UF faculty, students and guests much more easily.

At a May 15 ceremony attended by several hundred guests, UF officials dedicated the unit’s new 12,000 square-foot conference center, the Frank Stronach Plant Science Center, named for the donor who funded the building project.

“Today, we gather to dedicate more than a building—it’s an idea place,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

That sentiment was echoed by several other speakers, including UF President Bernie Machen, who noted that many of the crop varieties developed by UF plant breeders get their first real-world field trials at the unit.

Though the 1,068-acre unit has always had plenty of room for cultivating plants, it’s only now that there’s enough teaching space, said Danny Colvin, the unit’s director.

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UF/IFAS research looks at impact on honeybees from chemicals and mites

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Pests

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida honeybee researcher Jamie Ellis is interested in what happens to bees that encounter chemicals and Varroa mites — but he’s even more interested in how younger bees fare long-term after facing those challenges.

Scientists have been trying to explain the bee-killing malady known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which causes honeybees to abandon their hives, become ill and die. Ellis’ lab has been studying how combinations of environmental factors — chemicals, pathogens, natural enemies — affect bees.

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UF/IFAS eminent scholar elected to National Academy of Sciences

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Cultivars, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, New Technology, Nutrition, Research

Harry Klee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Crop genetics expert Harry Klee, an eminent scholar and professor in the University of Florida horticultural sciences department, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences Tuesday for his research achievements.

He was one of 84 new members announced at the organization’s 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Election to NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the U.S., and members are elected by current members for outstanding achievements in their fields. Klee will be formally inducted next April.

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Many ways to connect with UF/IFAS through social media

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Extension, IFAS, New Technology, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With a statewide mission to ensure healthy food, families and natural resources across Florida, a great way to keep up with the vast resources of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is through social media.

Social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, offer ways residents can join the IFAS conversation by sharing experiences and educating themselves on ways to make a difference on important issues ranging from food production, to water conservation, money management and conservation.

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