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Retracing citrus’ earliest roots to find clues for healthier future

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, Research
UF/IFAS Researcher Fred Gmitter holds citrus fruit.  He helped to trace the origins of citrus to two wild species.

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – That orange you’re enjoying may have been grown in Florida, but its deepest ancestral roots stretch back more than 5 million years, all the way to two wild citrus species from Southeast Asia.

University of Florida scientists led an international research team that analyzed the genome sequences of 10 diverse citrus varieties for the first time. (more …)

UF/IFAS helps create genome database to aid fruit growers, scientists

Topic(s): Citrus, Crops, New Technology

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –Scientists and growers can use a new genome database developed in part by University of Florida researchers to help make fruit trees more disease- and pest-resistant and enhance crop quality.

Researchers who study citrus, rosaceae and vaccinium crops will be the primary users of the portal, said Mercy Olmstead, assistant professor of horticultural sciences at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, but agricultural producers will also reap the benefits.

(more …)

UF/IFAS researchers find chemicals that treat citrus greening in the lab

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, Pests, Research
A citrus tree sapling hosts the Asian citrus pyllid, which spreads citrus greening disease through a bacteria it carries.

see photo caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.

Claudio Gonzalez and Graciela Lorca led the research team at UF that examined three biochemical treatments: phloretin, hexestrol and benzbromarone.

The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria’s spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees’ shoots. They expect to begin field experiments with this treatment later this year. Their research was published in late April by the online open access journal PLOS Pathogens. (more …)

Who’s fooling who? Species communicate, ‘eavesdrop’ and play tricks near infected trees

Topic(s): Citrus, Entomology and Nematology, Pests

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Four species communicate with and sometimes trick each other around a scent produced by greening-infected citrus trees, a new University of Florida study finds.

Communication between species is common but almost always is described between two or three species, said Lukasz Stelinski, associate professor of entomology and nematology at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

Stelinski wanted know how a fourth species, in this case, a wasp, would vary this interaction ─  a probe that may be one of the few cases where species at four levels of the food chain use one odor to communicate with, and exploit, each other.

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Two new citrus cultivars among 13 approved by UF/IFAS

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biofuels, Citrus, Cultivars

For photos, please contact Brad Buck at bradbuck@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two new citrus cultivars with high industry interest are among 13 recently approved for release by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The UF/IFAS Cultivar Release Committee voted April 15 to release UF 711 and RBB 7-34, two new citrus cultivars. Fred Gmitter, a citrus genetics and breeding professor at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, told the panel growers are excited to field-trial the two cultivars.

UF 711 is an easy-to-peel mandarin, while RBB 7-34 is a new navel orange-like variety with much more color and flavor than ordinary Florida navels, Gmitter said. Both varieties were deemed to be good-tasting, as well.

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Citrus industry set to welcome state-of-the-art greenhouse at Mid-Florida REC in Apopka

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

 

The UF/IFAS Mid-Florida REC in Apopka is home to a new $200,000 citrus nursery greenhouse.

See Caption Below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The citrus industry has just gotten its own state-of-the-art greenhouse, dedicated solely to citrus nursery research as the state continues its fight against citrus greening – and industry and research officials are set to celebrate the gift March 25.

The $200,000 facility is located at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka.  Officials say it was built there to shield the young plants from greening in the state’s main citrus-crowing areas of Central and South Florida, as federal guidelines suggest. (more …)

UF/IFAS approves 14 new cultivars for release

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

 

Shown is coleus cultivar UF12-86-91, recently approved by a UF/IFAS committee. The panel recently approved 13 other cultivars -- in coleus and citrus --  for release.

Shown is coleus cultivar UF12-86-91, recently approved by a UF/IFAS committee. The panel recently approved 13 other cultivars — in coleus and citrus — for release.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fourteen new cultivars, including eight coleus varieties and six citrus, have been approved for release by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Coleus are used as decorative bedding plants for landscaping, in mixed containers and as indoor potted plants in homes and gardens in North America and throughout the world. They are versatile, consumer-friendly plants because they are easy to grow in sun and shade and require less maintenance than many other garden plants, said David Clark, professor in floriculture and biotechnology, who developed the new cultivars.

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UF researchers find genetic cause for citrus canker, putting them a step closer to a cure

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

citrus canker 1

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida are closer to finding a possible cure for citrus canker after identifying a gene that makes citrus trees susceptible to the bacterial pathogen.

Citrus canker, which causes pustules on fruit, leaves and twigs, is a highly contagious plant disease and spreads rapidly over short distances. Wind-driven rain, overhead irrigation, flooding and human movement can spread citrus canker. Human transport of infected plants or fruit spreads the canker pathogen over longer distances. (more …)

UF/IFAS study helps researchers better estimate citrus crop yields

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Citrus crop-yield estimates may be more accurate, thus ensuring higher productivity and more revenue, if an algorithm proves as successful as it did in a recent University of Florida study.

Wonsuk “Daniel” Lee’s study, published in the January issue of the journal Biosystems Engineering, could eventually help Florida’s $9 billion-a-year citrus industry.

Lee, a UF agricultural and biological engineering professor, used an algorithm to find immature citrus in photos taken under different light conditions and fruit that was hidden by leaves and branches. He and his colleagues found 80 percent of the immature fruit.

(more …)

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