IFAS News

University of Florida

Florida Sea Grant offers seafood information in new Florida Trend report

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS
Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — October is National Seafood Month, and Florida Sea Grant has spotlighted the safety and variety of the state’s seafood products with a special report published in the September issue of Florida Trend magazine.

Although the average Floridian’s seafood consumption is twice the national average  – 31 pounds per year, compared with 15 – a recent Florida Sea Grant survey indicates that 40 percent of state residents don’t eat two servings each week, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“With this special report, we hope to raise awareness of our state’s seafood production and the fact that seafood is a healthy, delicious dining option,” said Karl Havens, Florida Sea Grant director and a professor with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or UF/IFAS. “We’re very fortunate in Florida to have access to a wide range of local seafood items as well as products sourced elsewhere.”

Florida is the nation’s seventh-largest seafood producing state, offering about 80 wild-caught and farm-raised items, he said. Some of the state’s best-known seafood products include grouper, snapper, oysters, spiny lobster and stone crab. (more …)

North Florida farmers are using sesame as a rotation crop

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Extension, IFAS, Research
North Florida farmers discuss sesame as a rotation crop during a recent field day at UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee Valley Agricultural Center in Live Oak

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LIVE OAK, Fla. — In between seasons of corn, peanut, and cotton, North Florida farmers were interested in growing a rotation crop that could withstand the wilting heat of summer and be harvested by machine.

So, since 2011, University of Florida researchers have been experimenting with growing the tiny seeds you find on top of hamburger buns or garnishing salads – sesame – as a viable, money-making crop.  (more …)

UF/IFAS receives $49 million USAID award to aid in global food security

Topic(s): Uncategorized

Cattle at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Flrorida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences a $49 million, five-year cooperative agreement to establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. The grant supports USAID’s agricultural research and capacity building work under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

“Through our Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the U.S. Government is empowering the world’s finest universities to help improve nutrition and end widespread hunger around the world,” said Acting USAID Administrator Alfonse E. Lenhardt. “By creating and scaling cutting-edge solutions to our most pressing agricultural challenges, we can help the world’s most vulnerable people move from dependency to self-sufficiency — and out of the tragic cycle of extreme poverty.”

“With this latest award to UF/IFAS, USAID is now investing over $75 million in the University of Florida’s ability to provide leadership to the global food systems research, teaching and extension efforts,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

This newest Feed the Future Innovation Lab will improve livestock productivity and the incomes and nutrition of livestock holders through appropriate improved technologies, capacity building, and enabling policies, said Adegbola Adesogan, director of UF’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems and professor of animal sciences. “The program will help increase the resilience of vulnerable populations, reduce the environmental impact of livestock systems, and advance understanding of the rapidly evolving livestock systems and their roles in food safety and security, human nutrition, and human and animal health,” he said.

The Livestock Systems Innovation Lab will focus on six countries in West and East Africa and South Asia: Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Nepal.

“This grant provides a tremendous opportunity to contribute towards meeting the increasing global demand for livestock products specifically and food generally, “Adesogan said. “Our research and capacity building efforts will equip students, farmers and scientists in the focal countries with the knowledge and innovative technologies to significantly increase livestock productivity and improve the nutritional status of vulnerable families.”

The award will strengthen global engagement at the University of Florida and allow the institution to better assist developing nations in addressing poverty and hunger, said Walter Bowen, director of UF/IFAS Global. “By joining the ranks of the science-based Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the University of Florida continues a strong tradition of contributing to the research, education and extension needs of small holder farmers around the world,” he said.

Feed the Future is working to scale up proven technologies and activities, expand nutrition interventions and programs, and conduct research to create the next generation of innovations that can change the lives of food producers and their families. In 2014, Feed the Future reached nearly 7 million farmers and other food producers with new technologies and management practices, while reaching more than 12 million children with high-impact nutrition interventions that improve health and development.

About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

 

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

 

Sources: USAID Press Office, 202-712-4320, USAIDPressOfficers@usaid.gov

 

Adegbola Adesogan, 352-392-7527, adesogan@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS honors alumni, friends at Dinner of Distinction

Topic(s): Announcements, Honors and Appointments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences honored some of its most ardent supporters at its annual Dinner of Distinction, held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center on Friday.

This was the fourth year for the awards banquet that recognizes individuals and organizations that support and advance UF/IFAS in its research, teaching and Extension efforts.

(more …)

Crested floatingheart: The lovely looking lily-like plant that clogs canals

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Invasive Species, RECs, Research

Crested floatingheart 092415 (use this one)

Please see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While the crested floatingheart can help beautify an aquarium or a water garden, it clogs canals and slows drainage, particularly during heavy rains.

“It’s really attractive. It looks like a water lily,” said Lyn Gettys, an aquatic plant specialist at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Crested floatingheart is also easy to grow and flourishes with little effort.

Instead of freezing unwanted crested floatinghearts and bringing them to a local landfill, many homeowners toss them into canals, said Gettys, an assistant professor of agronomy with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For about a year, Gettys has been compiling data to quantify the seriousness that crested floatingheart poses for canals. Crested floatinghearts reproduce mostly by way of ramets, an asexual form of multiplying. Gettys is trying to find out how many “babies” a single plant can make. She’s particularly interested in the effects of soil type and fertilizer on the plant’s ability to reproduce.

Preliminary data show soil has no impact. But if plants are well-fertilized, one floatingheart can produce more than 100 ramets per month. If only half of the new ramets sprout and make as many of their own babies as the original plant, that’s potentially 114,000 plants in six months, Gettys said.

(more …)

UF/IFAS research funding hits record high in FY 2015, confirming value of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, UF/IFAS research faculty efforts

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS
Roman Mmanda Fortunatus conducting research in Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Roman Mmanda Fortunatus conducting research in Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Photo cutline at bottom. Click on photo for larger image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research funding for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hit an all-time high in Fiscal Year 2015, at almost $125.82 million, according to figures released this month by the UF Office of Research.

The UF/IFAS total, representing funds from grant awards, contracted research, donations and other sources, exceeds last year’s figure by 23 percent; UF/IFAS records indicate it also tops the previous record, set in FY 2012.

“This is one of the proudest moments of my career so far,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “You just don’t get stronger proof that UF/IFAS is delivering results for our many constituencies and stakeholders. These results are a tribute to the leadership of Dr. Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS dean for research, and the incredible talent of our UF/IFAS faculty.”

The new figures come from a campus wide annual report on research funding. It provides numerical data on funding received by major campus units, as well as information on sources and types of funding received; the data cover July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. (more …)

UF researchers try to reduce barotrauma deaths for deep-sea fish and sustain industry

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Extension, Research

BAROTRAUMA 092315 (2)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Most recreational anglers who target deep-water reef fish in Florida recognize barotrauma symptoms, and University of Florida researchers think they can teach the other 30 percent to help save the fish.

By doing so, anglers would play a key role in sustaining the state’s valuable fisheries.

When anglers reel in their catch from deep waters, fish can suffer problems caused by gas pressure changes – or barotrauma. Often the gas-filled swim bladder of the fish has ruptured, releasing the gas into the fish’s body cavity.  Symptoms of barotrauma include the stomach protruding from the fish’s mouth, bulging eyes, a bloated belly and distended intestines. Fish with these symptoms find it hard to swim back down to their natural habitat, and many die as a result.

Mitigating this condition may be a key to maintaining Florida’s fisheries, said Chuck Adams, a marine economist with Florida Sea Grant. The importance of reducing this source of mortality for fish is further underscored by a recent UF/IFAS report that showed fishing and seafood products have a $565 million-a-year impact on Florida’s economy. That report can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe969.

(more …)

UF Researchers helping in the fight for healthier environments with fungi

Topic(s): Agriculture, Environment, IFAS, Research
Matthew E. Smith and members of his team are helping to take photographs of and catalogue 2.3 million microfungi specimens for a worldwide database of mushrooms, truffles, molds and mildews, among other types of fungi. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the team more than $200,000 for their efforts.

See caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Assistant Professor Matthew E. Smith is readying millions of fungi specimens for their close-ups.

He and members of his team are helping to take photographs of and catalogue 2.3 million microfungi specimens for a worldwide database of mushrooms, truffles, molds and mildews, among other types of fungi. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the team more than $200,000 for their efforts. (more …)

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