GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There’s an old head-scratcher that asks whether the refrigerator light really goes out when you close the door.
The answer may be about to change.
Scientists have known for hundreds of years that plants respond to light in a variety of ways.
But the results of a new University of Florida study tell them how specific light wavelengths can manipulate volatile compounds that control aroma and taste in several high-value crops, including petunia, tomato, strawberry and blueberry.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two papers co-authored by a University of Florida professor have been highlighted by a leading science journal.
The science journal Plant Physiology recently named the studies “Crop Genome Plasticity and Its Relevance to Food and Feed Safety of Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” and “Evaluating the Potential for Adverse Interactions within Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” as Editor’s Choice papers.
The papers were co-authored by Curtis Hannah, an professor with the horticultural sciences department, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have found, for the first time, that crop models predicting yields for one of the world’s most important crops begin to disagree under climate change scenarios.
By knowing where those models break down, researchers will be better able to improve them. The computerized models predict crop yields for wheat, one of the world’s most-consumed foods.
Scientists use crop models to foresee which parts of the world may face the greatest food shortages, so that efforts to improve food production can be directed to those places.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The plant hormones called auxins are well-known for stimulating development of roots and other structures, and now University of Florida scientists have shown that auxins help plants cope with environmental stresses.
The findings could lead to crop varieties that better tolerate heat and salinity, said author Bala Rathinasabapathi, a professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“Our findings show there’s a possibility of manipulating plant stress tolerance with auxins,” Rathinasabapathi said. It may be possible to administer auxins to crops at critical stages of growth, he said, or possibly engineer new varieties that respond to auxins more efficiently.
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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.
Pigweed, pictured here, poses one of Florida’s biggest weed-management challenges. UF/IFAS photo by Thomas Wright
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Integrated weed management, or IWM, is a management option for crop producers who want to fight weeds using every available technology; it involves three activities – scouting, prevention and control – coordinated to discourage weeds from growing in the first place.
Producers have been slow to adopt IWM, but a team of scientists with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say it can be a sustainable, affordable choice.
In fact, the team publishes so much research on the subject that they earned UF several top five results in a recent study that assessed the productivity of weed science teams worldwide.
UF/IFAS file photo of Austin Cary Forest palmetto and pine, by Dawn McKinstry
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This spring, the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation has two reasons to celebrate:
One is the annual SFRC Spring Celebration on April 5-6. Here, alumni and friends of the School reconnect, recreate and learn about SFRC’s latest achievements.
The other reason: This year’s celebration includes a special milestone — groundbreaking for the new Austin Cary Forest Learning Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6.
Dignitaries speaking at the groundbreaking include UF President Bernie Machen and UF Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Jack Payne.
“This groundbreaking marks a huge step forward for the School of Forest Resources and Conservation,” Payne said. “Thousands will benefit from activities on-site at the new Learning Center, and many programs taught here will be offered via distance education to audiences statewide and beyond.”
The 7,800 square-foot building will facilitate education and outreach events at Austin Cary Forest. It’s larger and better-equipped than the conference center it replaces, said Tim White, director of the School. That facility fell victim to a fire in July 2011.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Crops aren’t just for food, fiber and fuel. Researchers at the University of Florida are making new industrial applications possible for them as well.
They’ve developed a method to turn sugarcane bagasse — the crushed-stalk waste product of sugar production — into succinic acid that can be used to make pharmaceuticals, protective coatings and compostable bags.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Milk may be sold in supermarkets, but it comes from cows – that’s the lesson being offered this Saturday at Family Day at the Dairy Farm, a free open-house event at the University of Florida’s dairy farm in Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., dairy researchers and Extension specialists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will showcase the farm’s operations and explain how their work helps commercial dairy producers. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626.
Visitors can watch cows being fed and milked, learn about cattle nutrition and health-care practices, pet live calves, tour barns, sample dairy products and make their own butter.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two University of Florida scientists will share their research on a natural way to sweeten foods with colleagues and journalists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting this week in Boston.
Harry Klee, of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Linda Bartoshuk, of UF’s College of Dentistry, have been asked to meet with journalists Thursday morning.