GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have some encouraging results in the battle against citrus greening.
They have identified citrus cultivars, in this case 16 citrus rootstocks, most of which show a lower rate of infection and more tolerance to citrus greening – the dreaded disease that has wreaked havoc through Florida’s citrus industry since its arrival in the state in 2005.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Polk County architect-turned-citrus grower’s decision to allow researchers to use 100 acres of land has given the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences a much-needed boost in the battle against deadly citrus greening.
Located around Polk County, the donation – a combination of older and recent gifts from grower Jim Hughes, who died earlier this month – increases the UF Citrus Research and Education Center’s available field-trial research space by about 50 percent, said Jackie Burns, the center’s director.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s agriculture, natural resources and related food industries provided a $104 billion impact on the state in 2011 and have continued to improve since the 2008 recession, according to a new University of Florida study.
The study is the latest report from researchers in UF’s food and resource economics department — part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences — on the industries’ economic contributions. It can be viewed here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FE/FE93500.pdf.
The industries include crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries production; agricultural product and service providers; food product manufacturing; forest product manufacturing; food distribution; mining and nature-based recreation.
Adult Diaprepes citrus weevil. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service. Click here for high-res image.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Diaprepes citrus weevil is often more abundant in finely textured, poorly drained flatwoods soils than in the sandy soil varieties of Florida’s Central Ridge; perhaps that’s because sandy soils seem to host more species of nematodes that prey on insects.
Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science have taken those observations and turned them into a potential management technique, using “transplanted” soil and nematodes to grow flatwoods citrus. Their results appear in the January issue of the journal Biological Control.
In the study, researchers conducted experiments at a weevil-infested flatwoods citrus grove in Osceola County. They planted 50 trees in oversized holes filled with sand, and 50 trees in native soil, then introduced predatory nematodes to most of the trees. For the next four years, researchers monitored nematode and weevil populations and checked tree health.
The results showed there were more predatory nematodes of more species — and fewer weevils — in the root zones of trees planted in sandy soil. By the study’s end, 21 trees in native soil had died of weevil herbivory, compared with three trees in sandy soil. Surviving trees in sandy soil also had 60 percent greater trunk diameter and produced 85 percent more fruit than those in native soil.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. –– Tropicana Products Inc., a division of PepsiCo Inc., has pledged $1.5 million to endow a professorship specializing in innovative citrus research to strengthen the Florida citrus industry, the nation’s largest, University of Florida and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences officials and company representatives announced today.
The endowment, to be known as “The Tropicana Professorship for Florida Citrus Innovation,” will support teaching, research and outreach efforts dedicated to the future of the state’s citrus industry.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The quest to develop a grapefruit hybrid that will not interact with medication has taken a step forward, as researchers pinpoint compounds most responsible for the problem, a University of Florida citrus breeder says.
The data were published in the December 2012 issue of the journal Xenobiotica.
Scientists have been aware of the so-called “grapefruit juice effect” since 1989. Compounds in the fruit called furanocoumarins inhibit the action of an enzyme that breaks down certain medications in the human digestive system.
The phenomenon poses a health risk because it can produce unexpectedly high levels of these medications in a patient’s bloodstream. Doctors, pharmacists and prescription drug labels warn patients to avoid grapefruit and related products under these circumstances.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have created a mathematical model that shows how citrus greening is transmitted within an infected tree – an important step toward helping scientists understand the devastating disease.
The model, published this month by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that once a tree is infected, insecticides to control the pests that spread the disease may not be enough to halt the disease’s progression in the tree, and instead may only slow its spread within the tree.
Photo cutline at bottom. Click here for high-resolution image.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jacqueline Burns, director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, now has another hat to wear – she’s been named to lead UF’s Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.
Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, appointed Burns in early July. She will officially take the post Aug. 1.
“Dr. Burns has been doing an outstanding job at the Citrus REC, and I know she’ll bring the same passion and work ethic to Immokalee,” Payne said. “I want to thank her and express my full confidence that she will carry out her new responsibilities with distinction.”
Burns succeeds John Dunckelman, interim director of the Immokalee center since 2010. Dunckelman was hired in 2004 as associate director and will remain with the center as farm manager.
Click here for high resolution photo. Caption at bottom.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have discovered a natural compound to battle insect pests that plague gardeners and growers.
The compound boosts crops’ resistance to pest attacks on their roots by recruiting microscopic worms that kill the insects by eating them from the inside out.
Researchers, including members of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, made the discovery by studying chemicals released by citrus roots when they are attacked by citrus root weevil larvae. Their results are published in the June 27 edition of the online journal PLoS ONE. (more …)