$3.5 Million Donation to Aid California Citrus Collection

Len Wilcox California Corner, Industry News Release

New trees in the Citrus Variety Collection at UCR will soon be protected by a screened structure to prevent pest infestation.

The University of California, Riverside (UCR) has received a $3.5 million donation from Givaudan to support UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection. The gift will help build a screened structure to protect the collection from the impending threat of citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing (HLB).

The 2.8-acre protective screened structure will house new trees and back-up collections of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection, established more than 100 years ago. The collection includes two trees each of about 1,000 types of citrus. 

The collection will be known as the Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection at the University of California, Riverside, for a 10-year period. Givaudan is a flavour and fragrance company.

“As global leaders in citrus, protecting citrus biodiversity and creating a sustainable future is a primary focus for Givaudan,” said Louis D’Amico, president of Givaudan’s Flavour Division. “Our long and ongoing partnership with UCR is one of the ways that Givaudan champions biodiversity and sustainability. We are pleased to make this gift and to continue the strong collaboration we have with this outstanding university.”

Announcing the gift in the Variety Collection’s groves on March 14, Givaudan Global Citrus Product Manager Dawn Streich alluded to the urgency posed by HLB.

“A significant part of our latest gift to UCR will protect the collection from greening — today’s main challenge to citrus,” Streich said.

Citrus greening disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid. The bacterium affects the way in which nutrients are transferred from root to tree. Once infected, the tree yield will be lower, and fruit appearance and flavor are affected, and the disease ultimately kills the tree.

Prevalent in Florida, Brazil and Mexico, HLB is a global issue and has been detected in every major citrus-growing region.

Citrus Variety Collection curator Tracy Kahn said the recent discovery of HLB in Riverside, 2.25 miles from UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection “crystalized the need for further protection.”

“Working with partners like Givaudan enables us to protect our collection while working on solutions which can help commercial citrus growers,” Kahn said. “This announcement further cements our long-term collaboration with Givaudan, focusing attention on the preservation of the citrus variety collection. This latest gift will help ensure that the collection is well protected.”

Givaudan’s officials say its partnership with UCR, which began in 2006, has led to discovery of new citrus ingredients and flavours. 

“This partnership gives us access to rare varietals, which combined with our creative approach to citrus, delivers unique insight for our customers — inspiring consumer-preferred products around the globe,” Streich said.

Source: University of California, Riverside