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To the root of the matter – keeping nitrogen out of small streams

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Conservation, IFAS, Pollution, Research

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Feb. 25, 2014

GAINESVLLE, Fla. – For years, scientists tried to find out why some small streams carry only minute concentrations of nitrogen.

Now Stefan Gerber, a University of Florida researcher with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Jack Brookshire, an assistant professor of biogeochemistry from Montana State University, believe they have solved the mystery. (more …)

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.

(more …)

UF/IFAS study: Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions

Topic(s): Agriculture, Disaster Preparedness, Environment, Research

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Cutline: UF/IFAS researchers say a new computer model can help coastal managers make better beach nourishment decisions and possibly save millions of dollars. Above, the beach is shown with a fence at St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

UF/IFAS file photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A computer model developed, in part, by University of Florida researchers can help coastal managers better understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars.

Researchers used erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years. But they say their model can be used to inform nourishment decisions at any beach.

(more …)

PIE Center survey: Floridians value water, but not ‘all in’ on conservation

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Research, Uncategorized

Lake Okeechobee.  Florida lakes, freshwater.  2010 Annual Research Report Photo.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians value water, almost as much as they value money and their health — just don’t ask them to time themselves in the shower.

An online survey of 516 Floridians found that interest in water ranked third in a list of public issues, just behind the economy and health care, but ahead of taxes and public education. Eighty-three percent of respondents considered water a highly or extremely important issue.

(more …)

UF/IFAS study helps researchers better estimate citrus crop yields

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Citrus crop-yield estimates may be more accurate, thus ensuring higher productivity and more revenue, if an algorithm proves as successful as it did in a recent University of Florida study.

Wonsuk “Daniel” Lee’s study, published in the January issue of the journal Biosystems Engineering, could eventually help Florida’s $9 billion-a-year citrus industry.

Lee, a UF agricultural and biological engineering professor, used an algorithm to find immature citrus in photos taken under different light conditions and fruit that was hidden by leaves and branches. He and his colleagues found 80 percent of the immature fruit.

(more …)

UF/IFAS researchers’ work helps U.S. military deliver fresher MREs

Topic(s): Economics, IFAS, New Technology, Research

Jan. 15, 2014

Jeffrey Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

Jeffrey Brecht, left, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researcher Jeffrey Brecht is leading a team of scientists working to eliminate waste and streamline the process of distributing the U.S. Army’s legendary Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs).

In a five-year, $6.7 million study, Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and colleagues tested the longevity of MREs, along with First Strike Rations (FSRs) for front-line troops, including special forces.

“These rations were originally developed with a shelf life of three years for MREs and two years for FSRs – but at 80 degrees,” Brecht explained. “However, when they send them to the Middle East, they could be exposed to temperatures as high as 140 degrees, at which point the shelf life could be 4 weeks or less, instead of the three years.” (more …)

New study sheds light for those working to save world’s endangered crocodiles

Topic(s): Conservation, Research, Uncategorized

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Photo credit below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — African crocodiles, long thought of as just three known species, are among the most iconic creatures on that continent. But recent University of Florida research now finds that there are at least seven distinct African crocodile species.

The UF team’s latest discovery, led by then-doctoral candidate Matthew H. Shirley, is that what had been believed to be a single species of slender-snouted crocodile, is actually two.

(more …)

UF/IFAS study: Confusion surrounds added vs. natural sugar in drinks

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumers who are more concerned about what types of sugars are in their drinks will likely choose a less-sweetened beverage, although most people don’t know the difference between natural and added sugars, a new University of Florida study shows.

Gail Rampersaud, a UF registered dietitian, and Lisa House, a UF food and resource economics professor ─ both with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ─ teamed with other UF researchers to conduct the 60-question online survey, in which people from across the U.S. answered questions about their perceptions about various drinks.

(more …)

UF/IFAS scientist’s work with Brazilian citrus greening genome could aid Florida industry

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, Research
An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.

An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida researcher has mapped the DNA genome of a new strain of citrus greening that could further threaten Florida’s beleaguered $9 billion citrus industry. Knowing the genetic makeup of the various strains is critical to finding a cure.

Dean Gabriel, a plant bacteriology specialist with UF/IFAS, helped sequence and map the genome of the most prevalent form of the disease in Florida, and now he and colleagues have done the same for a new strain of the disease discovered in Brazil. (more …)

UF develops first high-altitude device to help detect health threats from the sky

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research, Weather

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Click here for high-resolution version. Caption at bottom.

African dust video

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida researcher is exploring whether the latest plant, animal or human health threats will come from the sky.

Using the first ever high-altitude sampling device designed to collect microorganisms from the upper atmosphere, Andrew Schuerger, an aerobiologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will examine the massive dust clouds that roll into Florida from Africa each year.

The maiden flight of the device, known as Dust at Altitude Recovery Technology or DART, was flown on an F-104 Starfighter jet Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

(more …)

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