GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida is partnering with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the United States Department of Agriculture on two dozen projects to strengthen markets for specialty crops in the state. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist has moved one step closer to his goal of eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens by removing 80 percent of them in whole peanuts.
Scientists must eliminate peanut allergens below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 percent of those with peanut allergies would be safe. It’s challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, he said, because doing so may risk destroying peanuts’ texture, color, flavor and nutrition. But he said he’s using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.
Yang, whose study is published online in this month’s issue of the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far. He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida team is part of a group of scientists from 11 institutions that will tackle some very ancient history as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to understand the evolution of zygomycetes, fungi thought to be among the first terrestrial organisms.
The Zygomycete Geneaology of Life, ZyGoLife for short, is a $2.5 million collaborative research project.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida today named Jackie Burns, the current director of UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, as its new dean for research for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A record number of American crocodile hatchlings have been counted in the Everglades National Park this summer — a positive development for the threatened species, University of Florida scientists say.
The American crocodile was listed as a federally endangered species in 1975, and while reclassified as threatened in 2007, the species still faces problems from habitat loss and environmental changes.
Frank Mazzotti, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor, has monitored the South Florida crocodile population since 1978.
This summer, he and his team of researchers that included Michiko Squires, Seth Farris, Rafael Crespo and research coordinator Jeff Beauchamp, caught, marked and released 962 hatchlings within the confines of the national park, a big jump from last summer’s 554.
The total American crocodile hatchlings in Florida this year came to 1,447, over last year’s 1,006, including those found in the park, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo and Florida Power and Light Company Turkey Point power plant site.
Mazzotti cautioned that the numbers aren’t proof that ecosystem restoration efforts are working, but he believes the correlation suggests they are.
The coastline of Everglades National Park, prime habitat for the American crocodile, was largely untouched by humans until the early 20th century. But a network of canals was dug to drain water from the marshes to make the area suitable for agriculture and residential development, which triggered environmental changes, such as increased inland salinity.
And crocodiles, extremely sensitive to environmental changes such as salinity and water levels, suffered. High salinities stress hatchling crocodiles directly, and high salinity and high water levels limit availability of prey.
Restoration plans to plug coastal canals in the national park aim to prevent salt water intrusion and fresh water losses to tide.
“What we hope is the lesson is that ecosystem restoration efforts can work. If the signal is correct here, we can monitor that improvement by looking at ecological responses – and crocodiles make good indicators,” Mazzotti said.
Crocodiles, as a species, are some 200 million years old. They can live for decades, can survive long periods without food and can eat almost anything. They have complex social relationships and are known to be quick learners.
Writer: Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Frank Mazzotti, 954-577-6338, email@example.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers are turning to the old-fashioned method of steaming to help treat citrus greening, a disease devastating citrus trees throughout Florida.
Reza Ehsani and his UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences colleagues are tenting and then enveloping trees in steam that is 136 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 seconds in an attempt to kill the citrus greening bacterium. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Recreational anglers who normally fish in the Gulf of Mexico lost up to $585 million from lost fishing opportunities in the year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and could be entitled to compensation, according to a new University of Florida study.
After a disaster such as an oil spill, trustees — which could include federal, state or tribal authorities – often attempt to secure financial compensation from those responsible.
In the Gulf oil spill, those monies would not go back to individual fishermen, but instead might fund ecosystem improvements or to stock more fish in the Gulf on the fishermen’s behalf, said UF food and resource economics professor Sherry Larkin.
In December 2012, BP agreed to pay $2.3 billion to commercial fishermen, seafood boat captains and crew, seafood vessel owners and oyster leaseholders, but trustees have yet to seek compensation on behalf of recreational fishermen.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida-led research team’s development of a tracking system could change the way companies ship fresh fruits and vegetables, letting them know which produce is closest to expiration and providing consumers the freshest products available. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida Foundation today announced a second gift of $1.5 million from The Coca-Cola Co. in support of long-term research aimed at preventing a widespread disease that affects crops in Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians would likely support a 1 percent sales tax bump to prevent and eradicate disruptive invasive species, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences public opinion survey shows.
The survey also shows that residents say they’re not as up to speed on endangered and invasive species as they would like to be.