CRDF Receives Recommendations on Plant Breeding

Jim Rogers Breeding, Research

By Rick Dantzler Several months ago, the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) convened a panel of plant-breeding experts from across the country to help us decide where to spend what appears to be a diminishing amount of money for plant breeding. The co-chairs presented their recommendations on Feb. 22 to the CRDF board of directors. The first recommendation was …

Citrus History Mystery Solved

Ernie Neff Breeding, Research

How modern citrus developed, particularly the popular mandarin variety, has long been a mystery to citrus breeders. A global partnership of scientists recently unraveled a big part of the mystery by analyzing the genome sequences of 69 East Asian traditional, wild and atypical citrus varieties. One of the researchers was Fred Gmitter, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural …

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CRDF on Plant Breeding and Peptides

Ernie Neff Breeding, CRDF, Peptides

Plant breeding, project terminations and peptide discussions dominated the July 27 meeting of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation’s (CRDF) board of directors. CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler provided the following report: PLANT BREEDINGWe continue to believe that plant breeding will ultimately be how we put HLB in the rearview mirror. As a result, we continue to put a …

Improving Plant Improvement

Ernie Neff Breeding

Many in the Florida citrus industry have long believed that development of trees that are resistant to or tolerant of HLB is the key to coping with the devastating disease. In Florida, most of the work on developing such trees is conducted by researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the U.S. Department …

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Speeding Up Citrus Growth

Tacy Callies Breeding

Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers will study citrus roots and stems to improve photosynthesis in plant leaves. Christopher Vincent and Fred Gmitter hope to find the optimal relationship between citrus tree “sources” and “sinks” so that plant breeders can select varieties — and growers can use practices — that lead to faster-growing plants. …

Breeding Hybrids With HLB Resistance

Len Wilcox Breeding, California Corner

UC Riverside scientists are working to breed new fruits that are naturally resistant to huanglongbing (HLB). The hybrid fruits will ideally share the best of their parents’ attributes: the tastiness of citrus and the HLB resistance displayed by some Australian relatives of citrus. HLB, also called citrus greening disease, has been detected in California, where 80 percent of the country’s …

Update on CRISPR Research for Citrus Improvement

Tacy Callies Breeding

By Nian Wang, Fred Gmitter and Manjul Dutt Nearly all commercially important citrus types — oranges, grapefruits etc. — have originated by mutations that have accumulated over several hundreds to thousands of years, from what once was an original, individual sweet orange tree and a single grapefruit tree. The many different cultivars that we know today are descended from those …

Sequencing Brings HLB Resistance Closer

Ernie Neff Breeding, Research

University of Florida (UF) scientists achieved a major milestone in their quest to develop an HLB-resistant tree by sequencing the genome of a fruit plant that’s a close cousin to citrus trees. HLB is also known as greening disease. UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers sequenced the genome from trifoliate orange, in collaboration with scientists from the University …

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New UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Website

Ernie Neff Breeding

Fred Gmitter, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) professor of breeding and genetics, has released several mandarin citrus varieties. Most recently, he released the Marathon variety in 2018. The citrus fruit’s ability to hang onto the tree for an extended period led researchers to give it the Marathon moniker. Gmitter is one of numerous scientists …

Working Toward Better Orange Juice in the HLB World

Tacy Callies Breeding, Orange Juice, Varieties

By Jude Grosser, Fred Gmitter, Yu Wang and Bill Castle It’s no secret that huanglongbing (HLB) has challenged the industry to maintain the outstanding quality associated with Florida orange juice. Moreover, increased prices and competition from new juice products and blends have reduced Florida orange juice consumption. We believe that improving the quality, especially flavor and color, of juice products …

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Grapefruit: A Breeder’s Thoughts

Ernie Neff Breeding, Grapefruit

Grapefruit’s struggle with survival and potential future were addressed by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) breeder and geneticist Fred Gmitter earlier this year. He told Florida Citrus Show attendees that the fruit has hit the bottom with HLB. “I was talking with one of the old-time families in the grapefruit business, one of the biggest …

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New Mandarin Gives Growers Advantages

Daniel Cooper Breeding, Research

Commercial citrus growers will soon see a new seedless mandarin variety that stays on the tree longer, two traits farmers seek, say University of Florida scientists. Marathon, an early season mandarin, is also easy to peel and tastes good, said Fred Gmitter, a professor of breeding and genetics at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). …

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Citrus Breeding in Uruguay

Ernie Neff Breeding

A primary job for scientists breeding citrus in Uruguay is to help the approximately 42,000-acre industry develop fresh fruit for export, Fernando Rivas said at a recent international citrus breeders symposium in Lake Alfred, Florida. Rivas works for Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural Research. On. Dec. 4, Rivas told an audience of about 70 at the Citrus Research and Education …

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Italian Citrus Breeding

Ernie Neff Breeding

Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) began spreading in Sicily in the early 2000s because the Italian citrus industry’s standard rootstock was CTV-susceptible sour orange, reported Marco Caruso at a recent symposium of international citrus breeders. Consequently, approximately 74,000 acres will be replanted with CTV-tolerant rootstocks over the next few years, he said. Caruso, a citrus breeding expert with Italy’s Research Centre …

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UF/IFAS Event Combines Latest Citrus Varieties with New Breeding Research

Daniel Cooper Breeding, Research

On Dec. 4 at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), citrus growers can see if they want to grow the latest varieties from University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) breeders and then learn more about commercializing crops. In the morning, industry members can sample the latest citrus varieties from UF/IFAS breeders. “These are new varieties …

HLB

Whitmore Farm Focuses on HLB Research

Ernie Neff Breeding, HLB Management

More than 20 growers and others attended a tour on Oct. 11 at Whitmore Farm near Groveland in Lake County, Florida. Breeding for HLB tolerance or resistance is the primary goal of research at the farm. “Whitmore Farm was established in the mid-1950s as a foundation farm,” says Brian Scully, who led the tour and discussed research. Scully is director …

What Is CRISPR and What Does it Mean for Citrus?

Tacy Callies Breeding

By Fred Gmitter, Yi Zhang and Jude Grosser It is very likely that you have heard about the use of CRISPR technology and its great potential for addressing human health issues, as well as the promise it holds for providing solutions for major agricultural challenges, particularly for huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus. Granting agencies are supporting many citrus research projects aimed …

HLB

Grower Partnerships Are Key to UF/IFAS Plant-Breeding Success

Daniel Cooper Breeding, Citrus, Industry News Release, Research

University of Florida (UF) citrus breeder Fred Gmitter recalls meeting Vero Beach grower Tom Hammond about 20 years ago, when Gmitter needed a place to grow hybrid citrus. Gmitter knew most growers wouldn’t experiment with “raw materials” – plant offspring used to identify that possible one in 5,000 winner. Growers rarely make a profit from such experiments. Hammond took a …

Jude Grosser: Giving Growers Better Options

Tacy Callies Breeding

By Tacy Callies Some people start young adulthood by following in their parents’ footsteps. Jude Grosser began by following the path of his oldest brother, Tim, instead. Both went to Thomas More College and majored in biology. After that, their education and careers took different turns. Grosser thought he would work in wildlife or fisheries, but then had an opportunity …

Fred Gmitter: Slow Road to Fast Genetics

Tacy Callies Breeding, Citrus

By Ernie Neff Even Nostradamus would have struggled to predict a career path for a 25-year-old Fred Gmitter. Gmitter had quit college after three years at Rutgers University, where he studied English literature with plans to teach. He said he “became completely disillusioned” with that plan. He married, worked as a delivery truck driver and warehouse laborer, and traveled out …