Seeking Microbes for Disease Control

Ernie NeffResearch


The next key to winning the battle against citrus diseases such as citrus canker may be in the tiniest microbes that live inside the citrus tree.  University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers hope to discover how these microbes may benefit citrus trees in their natural fight against diseases. The end result may be an environmentally … Read More

Trellis Systems May Aid Robotic Harvesting

Ernie NeffResearch

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government is growing citrus on trellis systems in an effort to reduce vigor, increase flowering and fruit production, and potentially open the way to robotic harvesting. The trial being conducted by NSW’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI) at the Dareton research center is part of the National Tree Crop Intensification in Horticulture project.   The … Read More

Update on Culturing of the Citrus Greening Bacterium

Tacy CalliesHLB Management, Research

By Nabil Killiny, Anders Omsland, Haluk Beyenal and David R. Gang The suspected causative agent of citrus greening disease, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), is one of many plant pathogens that has not been isolated and grown in pure culture. One major reason for this is its small genome size; it is missing the genes for several metabolic pathways critical for … Read More

Flavonoids May Reduce Cognitive Decline

Ernie NeffResearch

A new study shows that people who eat a diet that includes at least half a serving per day of foods high in flavonoids — like oranges, strawberries, peppers and apples — may have a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline. The research is published in the July 28, 2021, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American … Read More

Team Seeks Measures Against HLB

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Research

Codex DNA, Inc. has announced a collaboration with researchers from several organizations to identify scalable therapeutic measures against HLB. The multidisciplinary team has been awarded a grant worth nearly $15 million from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop cost-effective and sustainable solutions to the disease. Other collaborators include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research … Read More

Parson Brown Outperforming Hamlin

Ernie NeffResearch, Varieties

Manjul Dutt recently discussed his research on the Parson Brown (PB) sweet orange, which shows some characteristics that could make it more attractive than Hamlin, Florida’s leading early-season orange. Dutt is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences horticultural sciences researcher at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Dutt’s research, funded by the Citrus … Read More

Citrus History Mystery Solved

Ernie NeffBreeding, 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 … Read More

Growers Discuss CRAFT Projects

Ernie NeffResearch

Four Florida growers recently discussed efforts they’ll take to cope with HLB in plantings subsidized by the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program. Their comments were part of a virtual educational session sponsored by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) and Florida Citrus Mutual. CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler said the projects discussed were among 103 funded … Read More

Citrus Juice Proven to Aid Immune System

Ernie NeffOrange Juice, Research

A new research review, published in Frontiers in Immunology, has found that a glass of citrus juice contains key nutrients and bioactive substances that help human immune systems work efficiently. Scientists examined evidence from nearly 200 different studies and reports. They concluded that vitamin C, folate and polyphenol compounds in citrus juice can impact immune health, fight inflammation and improve … Read More

Avoiding Heat-Related Deaths

Ernie NeffResearch, Weather

A new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) report showed 215 people in Florida died from heat-related causes in the last 10 years. The fact that heat-related deaths happen throughout the year surprised the researchers who wrote the report. Serap Gorucu, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, helped write the report. She and … Read More

Research Planned on OJ Health Benefits

Ernie NeffOrange Juice, Research

Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), told the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) in June about the 2020-21 FDOC research plan. The plan includes two scientific research projects exploring health benefits of 100% orange juice (OJ). The projects, beginning in the new fiscal year, look at determining quantitative analysis of nutrient density in OJ … Read More

CRAFT Leadership to Change

Ernie NeffResearch

There will soon be leadership changes at the Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRAFT) Foundation. Tamara Wood will succeed Kristen Carlson as executive director and program manager; she was previously assistant program manager. Tom Mitchell will succeed Glenn Beck as president. Wood will manage day-to-day operations. There are no plans to hire a new assistant program manager, but the board … Read More

Hesperidin and Good Health Linked

Ernie NeffFlorida Department of Citrus, Research

A new systematic review links hesperidin, a flavonoid found in oranges and 100% orange juice (OJ), to health benefits. However, more research is needed to further strengthen results.    The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC)-funded review examined published studies relating to hesperidin in 100% OJ and its impact on several chronic conditions and other measurements. Those measurements included blood levels … Read More

Study: Beverage Labels Confuse Parents

Ernie NeffFlorida Department of Citrus, Orange Juice, Research

Beverage labeling regulations appear to fall short of helping parents identify the ingredients of drinks they purchase for their children, a recent study published in Pediatric Obesity suggests. This has researchers calling for changes to labeling regulations to increase transparency and help consumers choose healthier beverages. The online study included more than 1,600 parents who had healthy 1- to 5-year-old … Read More

A Trojan Horse for Citrus Disease

Ernie NeffDiseases, Research

Scientists are hoping the RNA of an obscure infection can one day be used like a Trojan horse to deliver treatments to citrus trees, possibly to combat HLB disease. The infection, citrus yellow vein disease, was discovered 64 years ago in Riverside, California, and has never been seen elsewhere in the world. Decades later, University of California (UC) Riverside researchers … Read More

Improving Productivity in Australia

Ernie NeffProduction, Research

A new research and development program launched by Hort Innovation aims to arm growers in Australia with the tools they need to produce more fruit, including citrus, and nuts per hectare. Hort Innovation is a grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for the nation’s horticulture industry. ABOUT THE PROGRAMThe 5-year $28 million National Tree Crop Intensification in Horticulture Program will … Read More

CRAFT Foundation: Two-Year Program Update

Ashley RobinsonResearch


The Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation Inc. is in its second year of operation. CRAFT Foundation Executive Director Kristen Carlson gave a program update during the recent Florida Citrus Show. CRAFT was designed to work as a cooperative effort between growers and researchers in order to provide examples of economically feasible production management practices and programs for Florida … Read More

Unlocking the Citrus Microbiome

Ernie NeffResearch

Yunzheng Zhang, Nian Wang and colleagues recently published an article, The Citrus Microbiome: From Structure and Function to Microbiome Engineering and Beyond, in the Phytobiomes Journal. It outlines the structure and potential functions of the plant microbiome​. It explains how this knowledge can lead to new engineering feats and a greater understanding of the plant microbiome. Insights into the microbiome … Read More

Testing Prototypes to Get HLB Therapeutics into Trees

Ashley RobinsonHLB Management, Research


Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) are working on automated systems that deliver HLB therapeutics into the citrus tree’s phloem, where the materials are most effective. The project, “Development of an automated delivery system for therapeutic materials to treat HLB-infected citrus,” is in its third year. Ozgur Batuman, project director and UF/IFAS citrus … Read More

Researchers and Growers Partner in Science

Ernie NeffResearch

Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have conducted scientific studies in groves owned by grower cooperators around the state for many decades. UF/IFAS’ Michael Rogers refers to these researcher/grower relationships as “partnerships” and discusses their value. Rogers is director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred. “These researcher/grower partnerships, … Read More