New Dollars Flow to Citrus Research Projects

Josh McGill All In For Citrus Podcast, Research

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recently received a large grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Michael Rogers provided details of the grant totaling $16.5 million during the latest All In For Citrus podcast. Rogers is the director of the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred. The NIFA grant will fund eight research projects.

research projects
Photo by Mackenzie Marco on Unsplash

“The largest grant was awarded to Dr. Nian Wang, UF/IFAS professor of microbiology and cell science, who is based here at CREC,” Rogers said. “There has been a lot of talk about some of the work he’s been doing lately on the stress effects on trees caused by HLB. This proposal he submitted that got funded for $8.5 million will look at taking his research to the next step.

“He will be looking at ways to minimize stress on trees and make them more resilient to the HLB pathogen. He will be continuing to look at things like how we can minimize stress in the field. He also will be looking at some biotech approaches at reducing stress by using things like the citrus tristeza virus to vector antioxidant enzymes or to silence genes within the citrus plant.”

In addition, Rogers said Wang will be doing some gene editing work to reduce stress on HLB-infected trees. It is a long-term research project intended to develop new tools that may be of use in the future.

Rogers also discussed the other research projects that have been funded by the NIFA grant. Those include both short-term and longer-term research.

Hear more details on all the research projects in the latest episode of the All In For Citrus podcast. The podcast is a joint partnership between UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.

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