GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether it’s hybrid termites, grain pathogens, mosquito mating or something in between, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying important topics and helping to solve global issues.
The UF/IFAS Research Dean’s Office recently recognized more than two dozen UF/IFAS faculty members for their impactful research, and Dean for Research Jackie Burns said she could not be more proud of the scientists.
“We recognize that these research articles are examples of the many published by UF/IFAS that are highly impactful and help reach solutions to worldwide issues including food shortages, nutrition, diseases and economic development,” Burns said. “Our faculty perform top-quality, globally-recognized scientific work, and we’re proud to recognize them.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When you eat a shrimp, you probably want it to be juicy. That’s why University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are trying to find alternatives to phosphates to lock in that texture and savory flavor.
Normally, phosphate or table salt is used to retain moisture in meat and seafood, said Paul Sarnoski, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition. But adding salt to the food puts more salt in a person’s diet, and that’s unhealthy, Sarnoski said. Additionally, phosphates are relatively expensive, he said.
In a study recently published in the Journal of Food Science, Sarnoski and his UF/IFAS colleagues found that phosphate alternatives such as polysaccharides – a type of carbohydrate often used as a food additive – can help retain water in shrimp. UF/IFAS scientists tested the shrimp using phosphates and polysaccharides. They boiled, froze and dried the crustaceans to see how much water the shrimp lost.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor wrote an article 30 years ago that’s still so significant that a scientific journal has recognized it as an “enduring” article.
James Anderson, a UF/IFAS professor of food and resource economics and director of the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, has been honored by the journal Marine Resource Economics for his 1985 paper, “Market Interactions between Aquaculture and the Common-Property Commercial Fishery.”
“I was quite surprised and honored, especially since it was the first time the award was given, and at the time the article was written, almost no one in the economics profession was giving any attention to the economics of aquaculture and its relationship to traditional capture fisheries,” Anderson said. Capture fisheries are found mostly offshore. “Most articles written 30 years ago have been forgotten, but I know some researchers are still looking at this one – that’s a good feeling.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The world’s fisheries are a great source of protein, but even with the best management, they won’t be able to meet the needs of a global population expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences resource economics expert said.
Aquaculture must grow, said James Anderson, a UF/IFAS food and resource economics professor.
Aquaculture production is expected increase by more than 60 percent and account for nearly two-thirds of all seafood supplied for human consumption by 2030, said Anderson, who’s also director of the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems.
Anderson made his remarks at the opening plenary of the Aquaculture 2016 Conference in Las Vegas, Feb. 23.
An alligator leaps out of the water at Paynes Prairie. (Tyler Lennon Jones)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Birds and alligators may not seem to be the likeliest of friends, but their interactions help both species to survive in Florida wetlands, according to research by scientists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“We have known for some time that ibises, storks, spoonbills and herons seem to always have alligators underneath their nests. Alligators are serving as nest protectors – keeping raccoons out of the colony, which are otherwise devastating nest predators,” said Peter Frederick, a professor in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation.
In the most recent research, graduate student Lucas Nell tells the story from the alligator’s perspective. Birds typically hatch one to two more chicks than they can actually provide food for, and this means that one or two usually die at some point, he explained. “Many of the dead chicks end up in the water, and their potential contribution as alligator food is substantial. In fact, we estimate that in years with especially high bird nesting, most of the breeding female alligators in the Everglades could be supported during the four–month dry season by dropped chicks alone,” Nell said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians say the state’s water resources are just as important as healthcare and the economy, according to researchers from the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
PIE Center researchers presented 523 state residents with a list of 10 issues. Only two-tenths of a percent separated what the respondents tagged as the three most critical issues.
When asked to describe the significance of each issue between “not at all important” to “extremely important,” 81.5 percent of Floridians deemed healthcare highly or extremely important, compared to water at 81.4 percent and the economy at 81.3 percent. Fifty-two percent of Floridians believed that water was an extremely important issue.
BELLE GLADE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists at the Everglades Research and Education Center have found an important way to control the destructive rice water weevil, one of the major pests in rice production.
UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Ron Cherry and his team discovered that shallow flooding of rice fields can help reduce rice water weevil populations during Florida’s growing season, between April and September. Previous studies of the effect of flood depth on the pest have been inconsistent. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — John Davis, professor and associate director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has been named associate dean for UF/IFAS research.
“Dr. Davis is an excellent researcher and teacher, and knows UF/IFAS very well. He has assisted this office for many years in a variety of roles, and understands how to support faculty in this important position,” said Jackie Burns, dean for UF/IFAS research. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Davis join our team.”
Davis earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics / Forestry from Michigan State University in 1989, and joined UF/IFAS after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. He now specializes in genomics of ecologically important species and their interactions, with a majority research appointment in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in UF/IFAS.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Have you dined on Arapaima? South Americans eat the fish regularly, and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying whether it could be a viable food fish in the United States.
“It has lots of high-quality meat,” said Jeffrey Hill, a UF/IFAS associate professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences. “It’s an easy fish to sell. It’s a really good food fish. It’s one of my favorites. It’s has a good taste. It’s easy to cook.”
Hill, doctoral student Katelyn Lawson and other researchers at the UF/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, Florida, recently published two studies concerning Arapaima. One found the fish can only survive in waters that are at least 16 degrees Celsius, or about 61 degrees Fahrenheit. That means it would only survive in South Florida waters, Hill said. The other study found a low risk of Arapaima getting out of fish farms and into canals. If Arapaima wound up in canals, they would prey on other fish.
The risk analysis was published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, while the lethal temperature study was published in the North American Journal of Aquaculture.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Global shrimp production is recovering from a challenging disease, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor says.
Based on an annual survey of shrimp industry leaders, global farmed shrimp production fell 14 percent from 2011 to 2013, caused mainly by the devastating disease known as early mortality syndrome, said James Anderson, a UF/IFAS professor of food and resource economics and director of the UF Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. The disease caused by bacteria, was first reported in Asia in 2009, and has resulted in high mortalities in the shrimp-farming industry, especially in Thailand, China, Malaysia and Vietnam.
But shrimp is bouncing back, with production expected to return to 2011 levels this year, Anderson said. He projected an average annual growth rate of over 7 percent from 2013 through 2017. From 2006 to 2011, the annual growth rate for shrimp was approximately 6 percent, according to Anderson’s numbers.
“It is notoriously difficult to get timely and accurate numbers on global shrimp production, since the industry is mostly located in the developing countries, many of which do not have resources to collect the data in detail,” Anderson said.