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UF/IFAS study shows promise for antioxidants extracted from grape seeds, skin

Topic(s): Agriculture, Nutrition

Maurice Marshall.  Professor, PhD.  Food Science and Human Nutrition.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Soaking muscadine grape seeds or skins in a solution of enzymes can boost antioxidants extracted from the fruit, creating possible new uses for grape leftovers, which are loaded with nutrients, a University of Florida study shows.

After making wine, a producer typically sends the grape seeds and skins to a landfill, said Maurice Marshall, a UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition professor and study co-author. But by using cellulase, pectinase and glucosidase, scientists found the grape seeds and skin aren’t just a waste product. The enzymes increase the antioxidant activity, from the grape seeds and skins. New uses could include food additives or nutritional supplements.

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UF/IFAS economics faculty member recognized as early-career leader

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Honors and Appointments

Kelly Grogan.  Food and Resource Economics.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A four-year faculty member in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has received a national award for young leaders in her field.

Kelly Grogan, a food and resource economics assistant professor, was selected in May as one of five national winners of the 2014 Early Career Professional Leadership Award by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The C-FARE Board of Directors selected Grogan based on her merit and interest in learning more about federal grant programs. The council also commended Grogan for her interest in communicating agriculture and applied economics to policymakers.

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UF/IFAS to host public event to discuss genetically engineered foods

Topic(s): Uncategorized
Corn is one of seven crops that are genetically engineered.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Genetically engineered foods are a politically charged, often misunderstood subject, and University of Florida officials hope to help shed light on the issue by hosting a public seminar June 18.

Kevin Folta, chairman of UF’s horticultural sciences department, has organized the event, scheduled from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Emerson Alumni Hall. Several well-known experts will lecture and answer questions. All are welcome to attend. (more …)

Perennial corn crops? It could happen with new plant-breeding tool developed at UF/IFAS  

Topic(s): Crops, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Since the first plant genome sequence was obtained for the plant Arabidopsis in 2000, scientists have gene-sequenced everything from cannabis to castor bean.

University of Florida scientists were part of a research team that this week unveiled a new tool that will help all plant scientists label (“annotate” in researcher parlance) genes far more quickly and accurately and is expected to give a big boost to traditional and nontraditional plant breeders.

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Retracing citrus’ earliest roots to find clues for healthier future

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, Research
UF/IFAS Researcher Fred Gmitter holds citrus fruit.  He helped to trace the origins of citrus to two wild species.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – That orange you’re enjoying may have been grown in Florida, but its deepest ancestral roots stretch back more than 5 million years, all the way to two wild citrus species from Southeast Asia.

University of Florida scientists led an international research team that analyzed the genome sequences of 10 diverse citrus varieties for the first time. (more …)

Former UF/IFAS research dean has trail named in his honor

Topic(s): Uncategorized

Research Awards Ceremony held on May 15, 2014 , at the  Samuel P. Harn Museum.

John Hayes has left his role as the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ research dean, but he won’t be forgotten.

The conservation-minded Hayes was honored at the May 14 UF/IFAS research awards ceremony when local officials presented him with a sign for the “John P. Hayes Trail,” which will mark the new hiking, biking and equestrian trail will be installed at Little Orange Creek Preserve.

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UF/IFAS helps create genome database to aid fruit growers, scientists

Topic(s): Citrus, Crops, New Technology

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –Scientists and growers can use a new genome database developed in part by University of Florida researchers to help make fruit trees more disease- and pest-resistant and enhance crop quality.

Researchers who study citrus, rosaceae and vaccinium crops will be the primary users of the portal, said Mercy Olmstead, assistant professor of horticultural sciences at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, but agricultural producers will also reap the benefits.

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UF/IFAS research: Invasive lizards could threaten Florida’s nesting reptiles

Topic(s): Uncategorized

MFDC0214_tegu leaving nest with egg

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research cameras trained on the nests of Florida reptiles have caught giant, invasive lizards in the act of pilfering eggs – making them a potential threat to native turtles, alligators and crocodiles.

The Argentine black and white tegu, which can grow 4 feet or more, is already found in areas populated by threatened species, including the Eastern indigo snake, Cape Sable seaside sparrow and gopher tortoise. And if the tegus’ range expands, the list of native species potentially at risk could grow to include sea turtles, shore birds and ground-nesting migratory birds.

The research team, which included scientists from the University of Florida, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, outlined its findings in a paper published Monday by the journal Biological Invasions.

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UF/IFAS researchers find chemicals that treat citrus greening in the lab

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, Pests, Research
A citrus tree sapling hosts the Asian citrus pyllid, which spreads citrus greening disease through a bacteria it carries.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.

Claudio Gonzalez and Graciela Lorca led the research team at UF that examined three biochemical treatments: phloretin, hexestrol and benzbromarone.

The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria’s spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees’ shoots. They expect to begin field experiments with this treatment later this year. Their research was published in late April by the online open access journal PLOS Pathogens. (more …)

UF/IFAS finding could help farmers stop potato, tomato disease

Topic(s): Crops, Economics, Pests

potato famine photo

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida scientist has pinpointed Mexico as the origin of the pathogen that caused the 1840s Irish Potato Famine, a finding that may help researchers solve the $6 billion-a-year disease that continues to evolve and torment potato and tomato growers around the world.

A disease called “late blight” killed most of Ireland’s potatoes, while today it costs Florida tomato farmers millions each year in lost yield, unmarketable crop and control expenses.

For more than a century, scientists thought the pathogen that caused late blight originated in Mexico. But a 2007 study contradicted earlier findings, concluding it came from the South American Andes.

UF plant pathology assistant professor Erica Goss wanted to clear up the confusion and after analyzing sequenced genes from four strains of the pathogen, found ancestral relationships among them that point to Mexico as the origin.

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