IFAS News

University of Florida

Whitefly infestation only in Palm Beach County – for now

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs

WHITEFLY 052516

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — People in Palm Beach County can help manage a potential outbreak of the Q-biotype whitefly through early detection and identification of the insect, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says.

This significant tropical and subtropical pest may threaten Florida crops such as tomatoes, squash, beans, watermelons and many other vegetables and ornamentals if immediate measures are not taken to prevent its spread. Known scientifically as Bemisia tabaci, the Q-biotype is a light-colored, flying insect slightly less than 1 millimeter in length. Thus far, the Q-biotype whitefly has been reported in all four quadrants of Palm Beach County – north, east, south and west – said Lance Osborne, a UF/IFAS entomology professor.

To find and detect this whitely, residents should first look at hibiscus plants because those are host plants to which this whitefly species will likely gravitate. They should also take a look at their poinsettia plants, Osborne said. There are two types of this whitefly species: Q-biotype and B-biotype, and they look virtually the same, so it’s critical to get a genetic analysis to determine if you have the Q-biotype whitefly.

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UF/IFAS study finds consumer knowledge gap on genetically modified food

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Research

Brandon McFadden

Brandon McFadden

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While consumers are aware of genetically modified crops and food, their knowledge level is limited and often at odds with the facts, according to a newly published study by a University of Florida researcher.

Last year, Brandon McFadden, an assistant professor of food and resource economics at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, published a study that showed scientific facts scarcely change consumers’ impressions of genetically modified food and other organisms.

Consumer polls are often cited in policy debates about genetically modified food labeling. This is especially true when discussing whether food that is genetically modified should carry mandatory labels, McFadden said. In conducting their current study, McFadden and his colleague, Jayson Lusk, an agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University, wanted to know what data supported consumers’ beliefs about genetically modified food and gain a better understanding of preferences for a mandatory label.

So he conducted the survey to better understand what consumers know about biotechnology, breeding techniques and label preferences for GM foods.

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UF/IFAS research-based mosquito repellant recommendations for increased public safety

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Homemade do-it-yourself remedies found online and circulated on social media should be regarded with cautious skepticism unless there is UF-based research supporting the product, according to researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For example, there is no scientific evidence that eating garlic, vitamins, onions or any other food will make a person less attractive to host-seeking mosquitoes, UF/IFAS experts said.

UF/IFAS conducts research and extension on mosquito repellents, said Ken Gioeli, program Extension agent for natural resources and the environment for UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County.

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UF/IFAS Bug Week focuses on “Big Money Bugs” that generate economic damages, benefits

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Families and Consumers, Household Pests, IFAS, Invasive Species, Lawn & Garden, Pests
The invasive Asian citrus psyllid.

The invasive Asian citrus psyllid. UF/IFAS photo by Michael Rogers. Click for high-red image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Call them Florida’s “Big Money Bugs” – the insects responsible for the greatest economic damages, costs and benefits that arthropods generate in the Sunshine State.

This year, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) focuses on Big Money Bugs for its annual Bug Week, May 21 to 27. The event offers educational outreach for the public while showcasing UF/IFAS’ entomology and nematology program, one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive.

Visit the Bug Week website at http://bugs.ufl.edu for more information, including profiles on six of the state’s most economically significant arthropods. Among these species are the destructive Asian citrus psyllid and Formosan subterranean termite, topics of great concern, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“In recent years, pest insects have had enormous negative impacts on our state,” Payne said. “Bug Week is the perfect opportunity for UF/IFAS to raise awareness about the challenges these pests bring about, in terms of lost agricultural and natural resources production, management costs, and even human and veterinary healthcare issues, in some instances.”

Species profiled on the Bug Week website include:

*The Asian citrus psyllid, which cost the state’s citrus industry $7.8 billion in total economic contributions from crop losses during the 2006-07 through 2012-13 growing seasons;

*The Formosan subterranean termite, the most destructive widespread termite species in Florida;

*Invasive yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are known to transmit viral diseases in Florida and believed to transmit Zika virus in other countries;

*Beneficial honeybees, which help make Florida the nation’s third-largest honey producer as well as a top source of rental honey bee colonies used to pollinate crops. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Nutrition labels may lead to buying more raw seafood

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If grocers put nutrition labels on packages of raw fish — a good nutrient source for cardiovascular health — parents may be more likely to buy the fish, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows.

Xiang Bi, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics, worked with her colleagues to survey 1,000 people online to gauge consumer reactions to raw fish with nutrition labels. Until 2012, federal rules only required nutrition labels on processed and commercial foods. That year, the federal government started requiring raw meat and poultry products to carry nutrition information on their labels. 

In the new study, researchers focused on three types of information: nutrition, health and a combination of nutrition and health. By putting the same nutrition label on raw seafood packages as consumers can find on raw packages of meat, consumers are more willing to buy the raw seafood, the study found. This finding may interest the seafood industry, grocers and policy makers, the study says.

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As backyard poultry takes off, UF/IFAS Extension teaches residents how to care for their flocks

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

Chickens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension has become the go-to educational resource for Duval County residents who want to raise chickens in their own backyards.

When Jacksonville passed an ordinance in 2015 allowing hens on residential properties, city officials wanted to make sure that people understood the basics of backyard poultry before they were issued a permit, said UF/IFAS Extension Duval County agent Andy Toelle.

The city approached UF/IFAS Extension Duval County to create an educational program that would prepare prospective chicken owners. Residents must take the UF/IFAS Extension Duval County Backyard Poultry Seminar to get the certificate needed for the permit.

Toelle, UF/IFAS Extension Duval County agent Terra Freeman and UF/IFAS Extension Baker County director and poultry expert Mike Davis lead the seminar. They take pride in being the principal source of poultry education in the area. “We get calls every day about this program,” Freeman said.

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UF/IFAS Chef Bearl teams up with Bok Tower Gardens for Outdoor Kitchen opening

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition

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LAKE WALES, Fla. — Forty Florida middle school students will learn to cook fresh, healthy meals with a professional chef, thanks to the partnership between University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and Bok Tower Gardens.

The cooking demonstration is set for May 20 and will celebrate the recent opening of the new Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden at Bok Tower Gardens, said Chef David Bearl.

The Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden will inspire meals prepared with the seasonal fruits and vegetables grown onsite, said Tricia Martin, director of education at Bok Tower Gardens.

Martin worked with Bearl to design the kitchen with a chef’s needs in mind. The kitchen features state-of-the-art appliances, a wood-fired brick oven, granite countertops and seating for 40 people.

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Warriors on the Water event to host veterans on May 15

Topic(s): Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — The Friends of Savannas Preserve State Park will host a free event—Warriors on the Water—for local veterans and their spouses on Sunday, May 15th, from 8:30 am until 1:00 pm.  Warriors on the Water is designed to connect veterans with the serenity and wonder of Florida’s natural systems. The event is co-hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Florida Master Naturalists – St. Lucie Chapter.

Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy guided interpretive walks through the pine flatwoods, take a one-hour guided kayak trip through the pristine Savannas basin marsh and tour the Savannas Education Center.  Participants may also peruse display tables hosted by local businesses, and enjoy a free lunch sponsored by the Friends of Savannas Preserve State Park and park volunteers.

“We could not offer this event without the support of our park volunteers and partners,” says Wren Underwood, Park Services Specialist at Savannas Preserve State Park. “Warriors on the Water is truly a community event and involves many partners, including Friends of Savannas Preserve State Park, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, UF/IFAS Florida Master Naturalists – St. Lucie Chapter, Heroes on the Water, Fleet Feet, South River Outfitters, and Sea Coast Bank.  Everyone wants to be a part of this give-back event.”

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Top UF/IFAS-produced food, beverages showcased at Flavors of Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

2016 Flavors of Florida with VIP event at Emerson Alumni Hall, followed by the event at the President's house on Monday, May 9th.

 
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty, administrators and friends of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences now know even more about the fine foods and beverages produces by UF/IFAS faculty after the annual May 9 Flavors of Florida event.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, commended faculty and thanked friends for attending.

“Flavors of Florida is a chance for UF/IFAS to showcase the many fine foods and beverages developed by our world-renowned scientists to not only make food tastier and more nutritious but to help growers sell more food at the grocery store,” Payne said. “And with the help of our many friends around Florida, we can continue the laboratory and field research necessary to continue producing these incredible foods.”

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Partners help produce UF/IFAS’ annual ‘Flavors of Florida’ food and drink showcase

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

UF/IFAS Flavors of Florida 2015

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences thanks the many partners who are helping sponsor this year’s Flavors of Florida festivities, an annual event designed to showcase how top-notch science creates delectable, nutritious food and beverages.

Two of those partners for the May 9 event in Gainesville are Straughn Farms, which gave at the platinum level, and Florida Tomatoes, which gave at the gold level.

“The Flavors of Florida features the advances of modern plant breeding that is the foundation of the Tomato Industry,” said Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee. “The search for the best flavors for Florida Tomatoes is an ongoing effort that provides the opportunity to expand demand. Florida Tomato growers have supported variety improvement for decades. The opportunity to feature the ‘flavor’ simply highlights the advancements of the science of plant genetics. Solutions through applied science is the path to the future of the Florida Tomato grower.”

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