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Healthier processed food? Essence of strawberry could be the key

Topic(s): Cultivars, Research, Uncategorized

Festival 01

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists believe they have pinpointed the exact compounds in strawberries that give the fruit its delightfully unique flavor – findings that will allow UF breeders to create more flavorful varieties even faster.

What’s more, the researchers believe that eventually, those naturally occurring compounds will be used to make processed foods taste sweeter, using far less sugar and no artificial sweeteners. And if fruits and vegetables taste better, people will be more likely to eat them, the researchers say.

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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/IFAS study shows promise for castor crop planting in Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Economics
This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study. Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study.
Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Castor, grown in Florida during World War II and currently considered as a component for military jet fuel, can be grown here again, using proper management techniques, a new University of Florida study shows.

Those techniques include spacing plants properly and using harvest aids to defoliate the plant when it matures.

Growers in the U.S. want to mechanically harvest castor, which is typically hand-picked in other parts of the world, the researchers said. Among other things, the UF/IFAS study evaluated whether the plant would grow too tall for mechanical harvesting machines.

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UF/IFAS: ‘Perfect storm’ needed for salmonella to spread in post-harvest tomatoes

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

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have gained new insight into produce-associated salmonella that they hope will eventually reduce the number and severity of the illness-causing outbreaks.

Tomato variety and weather can combine to make what the researchers call a “perfect storm” for salmonella to proliferate in harvested tomatoes, a new study shows.

It remains unclear how much each contributes to salmonella’s spread, but scientists say understanding the process is key to eventually curbing produce-associated outbreaks.

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Grants to help UF researchers grow pine trees faster, produce more energy

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Forestry

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researchers will use $1.45 million in federal grants to develop trait-prediction models and accelerate the growth of loblolly pine trees to produce more bioenergy.

In his grant application, UF associate professor Matias Kirst, the principal investigator for the study, said Southern pines can be used as renewable biomass for bioenergy and renewable chemicals. However, for pines to meet their potential as a bioenergy crop, researchers must develop more productive cultivars that can be efficiently converted into liquid fuels, said Kirst, who teaches in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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UF researchers identify citrus cultivars that show promise in battle against greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, RECs, Research

Click above for video about citrus breeding and citrus greening research.

citrus root stocks

Click here for photo. Caption at bottom.

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.

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New UF-developed strawberry varieties are bred with a focus on flavor

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

Vance Whitaker

Click here or image above for video about UF/IFAS’ strawberry breeding program.

Vance Whitaker

For high-resolution version of above photo, click here. Caption below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the time for Florida growers to plant strawberries right around the corner, it won’t be long before Florida-grown strawberries appear in grocery aisles.

And for some of the best-tasting strawberries on the market according to multiple taste panels and tests, shoppers can simply look for those grown in the Sunshine State, thanks to work by the University of Florida.

Researchers with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have continued to improve the quality and flavor of Florida-grown strawberries, as evident in their latest releases of the cultivars Winterstar and Florida Sensation.

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UF study: Florida’s agricultural and natural resources industries remain strong since recession

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Forestry, IFAS, Livestock

ag and natural resources

Caption at bottom.

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.

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UF Oyster Recovery Team issues findings: Drought and salinity major issues, not oil

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Conservation, Cultivars, Economics, Environment, Extension, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Pollution, Research, Weather

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Cutline at bottom. Click here for high-res image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There is no evidence that pollutants from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill contributed to the “unprecedented” decline in recent Apalachicola Bay oyster populations, according to a report this week by the University of Florida.

Instead, the report by UF’s Oyster Recovery Team cites drought, insufficient rainfall and increased salinity in the bay as factors contributing to the dramatic drop-off in oyster landings beginning in September 2012 and continuing through the year, said Karl Havens, task force leader and director of Florida Sea Grant.

“There was a whole chain of circumstances that led to this situation, some of which are beyond human control,” Havens said. “Our report makes recommendations for many things that can be done to help the oyster population through management and restoration.”

Havens and other recovery team members discussed the report and findings with a crowd of about 60 residents and seafood workers Wednesday at the Apalachicola Community Center.

The full report and a summary are available at the UF/IFAS Franklin County Extension office or its website, http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu.

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To help homeowners, industry personnel, UF/IFAS posts videos on turfgrass research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, Cultivars, Environment, Green Living, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden

Turf

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recently completed the state’s largest-ever study of landscape turfgrass and fertilizer use, and new online videos will help homeowners and lawn-care professionals understand the findings.

The eight-year, $4.2 million study was funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine the effectiveness of current UF/IFAS fertilizer recommendations, which have been in use since about 2000, said John Hayes, UF/IFAS dean for research. Florida has more than 5 million acres of home and commercial turf.

“This work is an important body of information generated here to address important questions about nutrient management,” Hayes said. “We’re proud to communicate our findings and we hope they will play a substantial role in helping residents, industry personnel and policymakers protect water quality.”

Three hours of technical presentations from a Jan. 15 live symposium are available at http://tinyurl.com/be2la7q and a three-minute video aimed at educating the public has been posted at http://tinyurl.com/ajy4ytr.

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