IFAS News

University of Florida

UF sets Family Fishing Day on March 18

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Always wanted to take the kids fishing, but can’t find the time? The University of Florida IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation will host Family Fishing Day from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 18.

The free, monthly event will be held at 7922 NW 71st Street Gainesville, Florida, 32653. Organizers will provide bait and tackle. Also, there will be a complimentary hot dog lunch.

“It’s a great opportunity to get families together on the side of the pond fishing together,” said Chuck Cichra, professor and fisheries UF/IFAS Extension specialist. “Also, it’s an opportunity to get kids outdoors away from computer games and TV sets, and introduce them to the sport of fishing.”

The event features a raffle for a chance to win stuffed tackle boxes. Proceeds support companion program Fishing for Success, a UF/IFAS program that shares the marvels of aquatic sciences with schoolchildren.

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UF/IFAS researchers find a probiotic combination that might curb allergy symptoms

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

Bobbi Langkamp-Henken

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As we head into allergy season, you may feel less likely to grab a hanky and sneeze. That’s because new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows a probiotic combination might help reduce hay fever symptoms, if it’s taken during allergy season.

Many published studies have shown a probiotic’s ability to regulate the body’s immune response to allergies, but not all of the probiotics show a benefit, UF/IFAS researchers say.

“Not all probiotics work for allergies. This one did,” said Jennifer Dennis, a doctoral student in the UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition department and first author on the latest study.

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UF/IFAS West Florida REC offers grits, cornmeal from grain produced on its farm

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Environment, Families and Consumers, Green Living, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs

JAY, Fla. — Do you know where your grits come from? Now, you can buy locally grown grits and cornmeal, and even visit the farm where the corn is grown.

The University of Florida IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center near Jay, Florida, is selling grits and cornmeal from corn grown and ground on its farm. The Gator Grind products are processed at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC and packaged for consumers there.

“We grow the corn, harvest it, put in the grain bin, clean it and grind it in a stone grist mill,” said Wes Wood, center director. “Visitors can come out to the UF/IFAS West Florida REC for one of our field days and see how grits and cornmeal are produced.”

Faculty at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC have been researching corn for decades, Wood said. These scientists conduct trials to determine the best corn varieties for the region, along with optimization of management variables such as soil fertility and pest control, he said.

“We conduct research that helps farmers grow the best crop possible under Florida Panhandle conditions,” Wood said.

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UF/IFAS helps ‘Keep the (blood) Pressure Down’

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

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty want to help you relieve some pressure – in this case, by lowering your blood pressure. What better timing? February is National Heart Health Month.

Those with high blood pressure risk suffering from heart disease and or a stroke, both leading causes of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 75 million American adults – or 32 percent — have high blood pressure, according to the CDC.

“Managing blood pressure is an important component of heart health, for both men and women,” said Linda Bobroff, a UF/IFAS professor in the department of family, youth and community sciences and an Extension nutrition specialist.

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UF/IFAS Researchers: Many turning to oysters for Valentine’s Day energy

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you might be thinking about revving things up by eating a few oysters. We’ve all heard that oysters are aphrodisiacs, but researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say there’s more to the story.

“Oysters might be perceived as an aphrodisiac because they have a high proportion of glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrate that can give you energy,” said Peter Frederick, a research professor with the UF/IFAS department of wildlife ecology and conservation.

Leslie Sturmer, a regional UF/IFAS Extension agent specializing in molluscan shellfish aquaculture, says the high nutritional content of oysters helps people feel good, hence the reputation for being an aphrodisiac. “Oysters have a high zinc content, have very little fat and are full of essential vitamins and minerals,” she said. “So, consumers who eat oysters regularly may attribute extra energy to the oysters.”

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How about another sweet, juicy strawberry, courtesy of UF/IFAS?

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

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When you bite into a Florida strawberry for Valentine’s Day or National Strawberry Day on Feb. 27, you savor sweetness and juice. That’s what you’ll find in all varieties bred by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers. The latest, ‘Florida Beauty,’ (U.S. PPAF) lives up to the UF/IFAS tradition.

As National Strawberry Day approaches on Feb. 27, we can look forward to even better-tasting fruit from UF/IFAS breeder Vance Whitaker as he tries to help Florida’s $360-million-a-year industry.

‘Florida Beauty,’ a collaboration between UF/IFAS and an Australian scientist, is in its early stages, said Whitaker, an associate professor of horticultural sciences at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.

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UF/IFAS breeder develops genetic path to tastier tomatoes

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

 

Harry Klee

Video available here: http://bit.ly/2jAXzTi

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some consumers crave tastier tomatoes than those they buy at the supermarket, so a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher led a global team of scientists that found chemical combinations for better flavor.

In a study published today in the journal Science, Harry Klee, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences, led an international research team that included scientists from China, Israel and Spain. Researchers identified chemicals that contribute to tomato flavor.

Step one was to find out which of the hundreds of chemicals in a tomato contribute the most to taste.

Then, Klee said, they asked, “what’s wrong with the modern tomatoes?” They lack sufficient sugars and volatile chemicals critical to better flavor. Those traits have been lost during the past 50 years because breeders have not had the tools to routinely screen for flavor, Klee said.

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UF/IFAS researchers show potential market for locally grown Asian vegetables

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

Please see caption at end of story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Asian-Americans in three East Coast states, including Florida, yearn for more of their native vegetables, and those crops can be grown in the East, say two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers.

Gene McAvoy, a UF/IFAS Extension vegetable specialist, and Shouan Zhang, a UF/IFAS plant pathology associate professor, were among a group of 17 researchers from four land-grant universities who surveyed Asian Americans’ preferences in Asian vegetables. Then the researchers tested the crops in various states to see how well they would grow.

There’s a market for locally grown Asian vegetables, researchers say.

In Florida, Asians account for 2.8 percent – or 557,000 — of the state’s 19.8 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population of Asian Americans has jumped by 32 percent from 2000 to 2011, according to the census bureau. Asians are expected to make up about 40 million Americans by 2030. On the East Coast alone, there are 5.8 million Asian Americans in 2014, according to the study.

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UF/IFAS Extension Specialist: Time to keep those New Year’s resolutions

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s almost a new year, another chance to make resolutions. But will they stick this time? Or will you see your determination peter out by February?

An Extension specialist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences offers tips on how you can develop good habits and keep those New Year resolutions. “It can be tough to start a new habit, and there are a lot of things that can get in the way. Change is not easy, and sometimes we’re just not ready,” says Heidi Radunovich, associate professor, human development specialist, and UF/IFAS Extension program director for UF Engagement. She offers a few suggestions for success:

  • Work on getting the resources you need. For example, you want to exercise regularly, but you can’t afford a gym membership. Schedule regular walks, use community facilities, or buy some used and/or inexpensive equipment or videos.
  • Think carefully about attitude. We have to believe that we are capable of making the change. It can be hard to stick with something if we don’t truly believe we are capable, or even if we have doubts. Make sure to give yourself a pep talk and search for examples of others who have been successful.

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UF/IFAS early career scientists to use grants to study greening, pests, environmental issues, more

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Conservation, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, Nutrition, Pests, RECs, Research, Soil and Water Science

Front- John Bonkowski lab assistant, Anne Vitoreli Laboratory manager

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Fifteen early career scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Scientists have been awarded grants to help solve global issues such as thwarting invasive pests, improving crop varieties, battling citrus greening and preserving our environment.

The faculty members will receive about $50,000 each as part of UF’s Early Career Scientist Seed Fund program to help develop new faculty research, said Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS dean for research. UF/IFAS works with the UF vice president for research on the program.

“This year’s competition was highly competitive, with 25 early career scientists presenting excellent proposals,” Burns said. “After a rigorous review by a panel of UF/IFAS scientists, I am pleased to announce 15 awards. The research projects represented by these awards demonstrate the breadth of UF/IFAS research programs.”

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