IFAS News

University of Florida

New method tells growers more about citrus decay

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Economics, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research, Weather

Citrus Decay Detection 063016

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With citrus growers trying to save their groves in the wake of the deadly greening disease, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has found a new technique that could help growers answer a vexing question – why so much fruit is dropping to the ground prematurely.

If we know why fruit is dropping, we can better figure out what caused it to drop – factors such as temperature, wind, humidity, rainfall, citrus greening or other factors, said Wonsuk “Daniel” Lee, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

While there is no known cure for greening, it’s important to know its locations and how much damage the disease caused at those sites so growers can mitigate the disease, a new study led by Lee says.

One indicator of the severity of damage is the number of dropped fruit. The other is how much the fruit has decayed once on the ground.

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UF/IFAS method detects 83% of immature citrus; helping cut costs

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Economics, Extension, IFAS, New Technology, Research

In this photo released from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Associate Professor Daniel Lee examines green oranges in a research grove on UF’s main campus in Gainesville – Friday, June 15, 2007. Lee is developing a computer system to recognize and count green oranges on trees. When perfected, the system could help growers manage and harvest their crops more efficiently. (AP photo/University of Florida/IFAS/Josh Wickham)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have found a new way to detect immature citrus 83 percent of the time, which lets growers know where to apply fertilizer and water and perhaps save on labor costs for the $10.9 billion a year Florida industry.

By detecting green, immature citrus more accurately and efficiently, growers can plan when and where to apply nutrients when fruit is growing and estimate their yield and profit before harvest, said Daniel Lee, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

Using a consumer-grade digital camera, Lee and his colleagues calculated color differences between the fruit and non-fruit objects, and identified fruit using a pre-determined fruit template. They also removed any incorrectly detected fruit via a shape analysis, Lee said. In a newly published study, scientists took 126 images of fruit on trees and detected 83 percent immature citrus, using a camera and the new algorithm. This method is different than the previous ones, which can detect fruit from the images taken farther away from the trees.

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UF/IFAS researcher to be honored as citrus engineer of year

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, RECs, Research

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Reza Ehsani

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher who uses steam to help treat citrus trees infected by greening, will receive this year’s Citrus Engineer of the Year Award.

Reza Ehsani, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, will receive the award June 21 at the 59th Biennial Citrus Engineering Symposium at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (REC) in Lake Alfred, Florida.

“I am very honored and grateful to receive this award,” said Ehsani, a faculty member at the Citrus REC. “It means a lot to me because it shows my efforts and contributions to the engineering aspects of citrus production have been of value and have been noticed and recognized by my peers.”

Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus REC, touted Ehsani’s work in using steam to help citrus trees infected by greening, or HLB as it’s known in scientific circles.

“The premise of his work is that, by using steam to kill the bacteria in the above-ground portion of the tree, growers can buy additional years of productivity of a grove before it must be replanted,” Rogers said. “The machine designs he has created are being used by several startup companies around the state. He definitely deserves the recognition.”

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UF/IFAS Bug Week focuses on “Big Money Bugs” that generate economic damages, benefits

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Families and Consumers, Household Pests, IFAS, Invasive Species, Lawn & Garden, Pests
The invasive Asian citrus psyllid.

The invasive Asian citrus psyllid. UF/IFAS photo by Michael Rogers. Click for high-red image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Call them Florida’s “Big Money Bugs” – the insects responsible for the greatest economic damages, costs and benefits that arthropods generate in the Sunshine State.

This year, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) focuses on Big Money Bugs for its annual Bug Week, May 21 to 27. The event offers educational outreach for the public while showcasing UF/IFAS’ entomology and nematology program, one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive.

Visit the Bug Week website at http://bugs.ufl.edu for more information, including profiles on six of the state’s most economically significant arthropods. Among these species are the destructive Asian citrus psyllid and Formosan subterranean termite, topics of great concern, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“In recent years, pest insects have had enormous negative impacts on our state,” Payne said. “Bug Week is the perfect opportunity for UF/IFAS to raise awareness about the challenges these pests bring about, in terms of lost agricultural and natural resources production, management costs, and even human and veterinary healthcare issues, in some instances.”

Species profiled on the Bug Week website include:

*The Asian citrus psyllid, which cost the state’s citrus industry $7.8 billion in total economic contributions from crop losses during the 2006-07 through 2012-13 growing seasons;

*The Formosan subterranean termite, the most destructive widespread termite species in Florida;

*Invasive yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are known to transmit viral diseases in Florida and believed to transmit Zika virus in other countries;

*Beneficial honeybees, which help make Florida the nation’s third-largest honey producer as well as a top source of rental honey bee colonies used to pollinate crops. (more …)

Globally recognized entomologist named interim director of UF/IFAS Indian River REC

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Cultivars, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, RECs, Research, Safety

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Ron Cave

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — An entomologist recognized internationally as a specialist in biological control of insect pests has been named interim director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center.

Ronald Cave will serve as the sixth leader of the Indian River REC.

From the Indian River REC’s 1947 start as the Indian River Field Laboratory, it has served agricultural and natural resources interests with research, Extension and education programs.

Cave was appointed to his new position by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“In this challenging time for the citrus industry and for other agricultural commodities, we cannot afford a leadership gap even for a few months,” Payne said. “Ron Cave is the right leader for this transition because of his accomplishments as a scientist, his dedication as a mentor and his familiarity with the center. It’s this combination of excellence and stability that makes him an ideal choice for this important role.”

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Top UF/IFAS-produced food, beverages showcased at Flavors of Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

2016 Flavors of Florida with VIP event at Emerson Alumni Hall, followed by the event at the President's house on Monday, May 9th.

 
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty, administrators and friends of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences now know even more about the fine foods and beverages produces by UF/IFAS faculty after the annual May 9 Flavors of Florida event.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, commended faculty and thanked friends for attending.

“Flavors of Florida is a chance for UF/IFAS to showcase the many fine foods and beverages developed by our world-renowned scientists to not only make food tastier and more nutritious but to help growers sell more food at the grocery store,” Payne said. “And with the help of our many friends around Florida, we can continue the laboratory and field research necessary to continue producing these incredible foods.”

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UF/IFAS study: Hot water, essential oil could help prevent postharvest development of citrus black spot

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Economics, Pests, RECs, Research

 

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FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Dipping fruit after harvest with hot water and essential oil dips may reduce postharvest development of citrus black spot lesions per fruit by up to 50 percent, according to new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research.

The new management techniques are the result of Jiaqi Yan’s recently completed doctorate she earned at UF. Yan’s dissertation focused on citrus black spot and developed postharvest treatments using hot water, fungicides and essential oils to significantly inhibit the development of citrus black spot lesions.

Citrus black spot is caused by a pathogen called Guignardia citricarpa, a fungal disease first detected in 2010 in an Immokalee grove. Similar to canker, citrus black spot forms dark lesions on fresh fruit skin and adversely impacts the crop’s marketability. The disease is currently believed to be confined to Hendry, Collier and Polk counties.

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Nurseries excited about two new early Valencia orange varieties from UF/IFAS

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, IFAS, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nurseries are very interested in two new early Valencia orange varieties from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Growers need help because citrus greening has infected more than 80 percent of Florida’s citrus trees, according to a recent UF/IFAS survey of growers. Although these two new early Valencias are not resistant to greening, the scientist who bred them thinks it’s a harbinger of good things to come.

“Many citrus growers are replacing trees or entire groves severely impacted by greening,” said Jude Grosser, a professor of citrus breeding and genetics at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. “As they replace trees, they now have a chance to replace a poor-quality orange with Valencia types.”

The two new varieties can be harvested beginning in December, about three months earlier than standard Valencia oranges, Grosser said. The traditional early-season Florida orange, the Hamlin, is harvested from November through February, said Grosser, a faculty member at the Lake Alfred, Florida, facility.

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Partners help produce UF/IFAS’ annual ‘Flavors of Florida’ food and drink showcase

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

UF/IFAS Flavors of Florida 2015

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences thanks the many partners who are helping sponsor this year’s Flavors of Florida festivities, an annual event designed to showcase how top-notch science creates delectable, nutritious food and beverages.

Two of those partners for the May 9 event in Gainesville are Straughn Farms, which gave at the platinum level, and Florida Tomatoes, which gave at the gold level.

“The Flavors of Florida features the advances of modern plant breeding that is the foundation of the Tomato Industry,” said Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee. “The search for the best flavors for Florida Tomatoes is an ongoing effort that provides the opportunity to expand demand. Florida Tomato growers have supported variety improvement for decades. The opportunity to feature the ‘flavor’ simply highlights the advancements of the science of plant genetics. Solutions through applied science is the path to the future of the Florida Tomato grower.”

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Florida citrus growers: 80 percent of trees infected by greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Small lopsided fruit from greening-infected citrus tree.  Spring 2008 Impact Magazine image.  UF/IFAS File Photo.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.

The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.

“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

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