Updates on FDOC Research Projects

Tacy Callies Florida Citrus Commission, Florida Department of Citrus, Research

Nurseries are ramping up production of the Donaldson variety.

Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) members on Jan. 17 heard an update on one recent Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) scientific research project and learned about some future research plans. Rosa Walsh, FDOC director of scientific research, presented the information.

Walsh reported that the 2022–23 Program for Expedited Propagation of HLB Tolerant and Resistant Trees was successful. She said it quickly increased the budwood for the Donaldson, Parson Brown, Carney 2, Carney 3 and Roble varieties. The program’s goal is to provide resources needed to ramp up the availability of the apparently HLB-tolerant Donaldson tree and others like it. Walsh said the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Cycle 5 applications allowed for those apparently HLB-tolerant varieties to generate more grower data on those early oranges.

Walsh added that researcher Matt Mattia with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) is working on additional trials with the Donaldson tree.

Walsh informed the FCC that it will likely soon be asked to approve funding for two research proposals each from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and USDA ARS.

The UF/IFAS proposals are $21,300 for funding of a nurse limb (a modest size scaffold low in the tree) project and $96,940 for 2023–24 funding of the Millennium Block research project in Fort Pierce.

A USDA ARS juice quality evaluation will identify citrus orange and orange-like hybrids tolerant to HLB that can be used in the juice stream by evaluating fruit flavor quality before and after pasteurizing. The 2023–24 funding is $50,100.

USDA ARS orange and orange-like field trials will aim to propagate orange and orange-like scions onto rootstocks for replicated field trialing. The 2023–24 funding is $62,978.

Walsh is working with UF/IFAS and USDA ARS to obtain the necessary contract documents.

Source: FDOC