CRDF Update: Maximizing Funds and Testing Tree Injection

Tacy Callies CRDF


The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) board of directors met on Sept. 28. Rick Dantzler, CRDF chief operating officer, shared highlights from the meeting.

“The primary action was the endorsement of the idea to pull together a group of plant breeders from across the country to help us decide where to invest our funding in plant improvement,” said Dantzler. “With less money available, which we are experiencing this year, we can’t afford to miss.” He explained that the breeders will complement the CRDF’s Select Committee on Plant Improvement. “The Select Committee has been working on ensuring that the plant breeding process works as it should and what should be advanced,” he added.

In the board meeting, Brandon Page, CRDF field trial coordinator, reported on the work he is doing with a device used for oxytetracycline injection. “If it works as well as we think it will, it could be a gamechanger,” said Dantzler. “It will be easy to determine how well the device distributes the product throughout the phloem of the tree. If the device works, peptides or nutritionals or any number of things would have an easy and affordable way into the sweet spot of the tree.”

The injection device is being tested with the assistance of Christopher Vincent at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center. “We will take leaf samples periodically for 45 days to determine how well the product has moved throughout the tree,” Dantzler said. “If the device works efficiently, we will then turn our attention to other products that could be injected.”

At a retreat held after the meeting, the board agreed to continue pursuing a project funding track that would highlight off-cycle projects. “This allows a more collaborative approach between CRDF and researchers to more specifically target the work needed to answer the questions we believe need to be answered, and to do so less expensively,” explained Dantzler. “There will still be a request for proposals to allow the research community at large to submit projects for our consideration, but off-cycle projects allow rifle approaches instead of shotgun approaches, something that is helpful with tighter budgets.”

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About the Author

Tacy Callies

Editor of Citrus Industry magazine

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