Strauss Joins UF/IFAS Fight Against Citrus Greening

Kelsey FryAgriculture, Citrus Greening

Sarah Strauss

Sarah Strauss

A new researcher has joined the University of Florida’s fight against citrus greening, which has devastated the state’s industry. Sarah Strauss, a soil microbiologist most recently from Davis, California, has accepted a position at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.

Strauss, an assistant professor with an Extension appointment, focuses on characterizing and managing plant and soil microbial community interactions to improve citrus and vegetable crop health and productivity. “The battle against citrus greening has looked at the rootstock, but not necessarily the soil. I hope my research can offer insight into what is going on with the soil of affected trees and how to improve the plant health by improving the soil,” she said.

According to Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, Strauss is the only soil microbiologist in Southwest Florida. “Dr. Strauss is a critical hire because she brings unique skills and talents to the search for a cure to citrus greening,” Payne said. “In addition, she is passionate about helping stakeholders in Florida succeed. It’s one of the main reasons that she came to UF/IFAS—to share her knowledge with those who need it most.”

Strauss received a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in biology and environmental science, and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in plant biology. Prior to her appointment at UF/IFAS, she worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Crops Pathology & Genetics Research Unit in Davis, California, and the USDA-ARS Tree Fruit Research Laboratory in Wenatchee, Washington, where she gained experience in tree crops.

Strauss said she is excited to start the soil microbiology research program at UF/IFAS. “I have the opportunity to collaborate closely with growers and others in both the citrus and vegetable industry,” she said. “And, I get to work with some of the leading minds that are combatting citrus greening.”

By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566,
Source: Sarah Strauss, 239-658-3468,

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