Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Agricultural Sciences have been awarded more than $13.4 million for four studies to help fight citrus greening, the devastating disease that threatens Florida’s $10 billion citrus industry.
The projects are funded through the Specialty Crop Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Education (CDRE) program, which is made available through the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill.
The following UF/IFAS research projects were funded:
- $4.6 million to develop an environmentally sage, systematic bacteriacide that can be applied with conventional spray or drench technology to reduce or eliminate pathogens in citrus trees. The goal is to recover fruit production in greening-affected orchards.
- $3.4 million to support ways to provide steam-generated treatments as an immediate, short-term solution to sustain productivity in HLB-affected trees, while reducing adverse effects on crop yield and fruit quality.
- $3.3 million to try to develop an HLB-resistant citrus cultivar.
- $2.9 million target the use of field trials in Florida to develop and effective microbial treatment for citrus plants affected by HLB.
- UF/IFAS is also partnering with the University of California-Davis on a $4.6 million grant that focuses on using new approaches to manage the Asian citrus psyllid, will assess the economic benefits of these approaches and will develop new outreach information.
UF/IFAS is also a partner on many of USDA’s HLB Multi-Agency Coordination grants that are funding near-term tools and solutions for growers.
“UF/IFAS has more than 150 scientists working to find viable solutions for Florida citrus producers,” said Jack Payne, Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “These funds support research that has shown promise for both short and long-term methods to fight greening. They are an investment in the future of the industry.”
Research will be conducted at UF/IFAS’ Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred and Gainesville campuses.