University of Florida

UF receives $6.7 million in federal funds to fight citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, IFAS, RECs, Research

Small citrus trees infected with citrus greening.  Asian citrus psyllid, liberibacter asiaticum, greening, citrus disease, entomology.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences received $6.7 million in funding as part of a $20.1 million grant for research on citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s citrus industry.

The United States Department of Agriculture awarded the grants to universities for research and Extension projects to help citrus producers fight citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing or HLB. This funding is available through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative’s Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“Citrus greening has affected more than 75 percent of Florida citrus crops and threatens production all across the United States,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The research and extension projects funded today bring us one step closer to providing growers real tools to fight this disease, from early detection to creating long-term solutions for the industry, producers and workers.” (more …)

Davis appointed associate dean for UF/IFAS research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops

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.

(more …)

Father-daughter duo team up for citrus research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs, Research

Jude and Melinda Grosser at his laboratory at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Fla.

LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — When Jude Grosser’s daughter, Melinda, was in elementary school, he would often take her to his laboratory at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, where he works as a researcher on citrus diseases and creating new varieties.  In the lab, he let Melinda look at fluorescent proteins from jellyfish, glowing in plant cells under the microscope, and even grow microorganisms in her petri dish handprint.  Now, the 26-year-old is set to get her Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the spring and still finds herself working with her dad.

The pair recently co-authored a research paper on new grapefruit cybrids, developed when the nuclear genes from a ”Ruby Red” grapefruit were combined  with  genes from within a cell’s cytoplasm (the jellylike material that makes up much of a cell) from a “Dancy” mandarin. The change increased the harvest window of the new grapefruits by three months.  This resulted in the commercial release of a new UF/IFAS grapefruit cultivar N2-28 ‘Summer Gold Grapefruit’ that can be harvested into August.  Melinda was working as an undergraduate Howard Hughes Medical Institute “Science for Life” student in the laboratory of UF Department of Horticultural Sciences Professor Christine Chase in Gainesville for her contribution to the project. (more …)

UF/IFAS using box tax money to battle citrus greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Economics, IFAS, RECs, Research
Citrus box tax funds support research to find a control for citrus greening. About 95 percent of citrus ends up in processing plants like this one near Immokalee.

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LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — In the next three months, Florida citrus growers will have to decide whether to extend for another six years the citrus box tax, the proceeds of which help to pay for citrus greening research at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center and other research universities and laboratories.

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation, Inc., Box Tax Advisory Council voted unanimously in June to recommend continuation of the citrus box tax at the current assessment rate of $.03 (3 cents) per harvested box for the last year of the current referendum, fiscal year 2015-16. (more …)

Microscopic molecules can fight citrus greening bug with less insecticides

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Research
A scanning electron microscope photo of polymer molecules impregnated with imidacloprid, a common insecticide used to kill ther Asian citrus psyllid. Photo by Lukasz Stelinski, UF/IFAS

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LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida and several other institutions have found a way in laboratory tests to use 200 times less insecticide and yet still kill as many insects that carry the devastating citrus greening bacterium.

It is a step forward in ridding groves of the insect that is threatening to destroy Florida’s $10.7 billion citrus industry. (more …)

Citrus Health Management Areas staving off greening with coordinated pesticide spraying

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — What’s a little pesticide among neighbors?  For Florida citrus growers, it could mean saving their trees that are under attack from the virulent citrus greening bacterium threatening to destroy the state’s $10.7 billion industry.

Entomologist Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, is telling growers that one of the best approaches to managing citrus greening is to control the insect that spreads this disease. And the best way to do that is by coordinating their pesticide applications with their neighbors. (more …)

UF/IFAS Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide now online

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

ROOTSTOCK guide 071415

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Visitors to the site can find 104 publications supporting the ratings in the guide and can conduct queries of the rootstock information, said Stephen Futch, UF/IFAS multi-county Extension agent. The information and tools let you make informed citrus rootstock selections for your groves.

Three large buttons on the home page let you:

  • Open and interact with the Rootstock Selection Guide. It presents information on 45 rootstocks and 20 traits.
  • Open the Consult Guide, which introduces new technology to help you arrive at the best rootstock recommendations for your circumstances.
  • Open the Learn section, which contains a bibliography of references in an easy to use database with more than 100 published articles.

To access the website, go to www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu, then click on “Extension,” then “Horticulture,” then “Varieties and Rootstocks.”


Caption: The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide, developed by UF/IFAS faculty members and Extension agents, is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Credit: UF/IFAS file.

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Stephen Futch, 863-9546-8644, shf@ufl.edu

UF researchers develop machine to count dropped citrus, identify problem areas in groves

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, RECs

Orange grove at the University of Florida. Keywords: citrus, horticulture, fruit, tree (UF/IFAS photo by Tara Piasio)

As citrus greening continues to impact Florida’s groves, growers have found that they need a way to quickly and accurately count the amount of fruit dropped early to help identify problem areas, which will save time and money.

University of Florida researchers Wonsuk “Daniel” Lee, Daeun “Dana” Choi, Reza Ehsani and Fritz Roka devised a “machine vision system” to count citrus fruit that has dropped early. The device is suitable for various conditions in citrus groves, including addressing problems of variable lighting, giving accurate estimates of dropped fruit counts and providing exact locations of trees with greater fruit drop, indicating a problem area. (more …)

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