UF/IFAS Plants Grown in Space Flown Home

Clint Thompson Florida

ET may have phoned home, but plants from a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) experiment were recently flown home from the International Space Station (ISS). Plants, specifically Arabidopsis thaliana, grown from seeds by astronauts in the ISS were harvested, launched on a return capsule that touched down to Earth and shipped to eager researchers at …

UF/IFAS Research Unlocks Control Methods Against Thrips Parvispinus

Clint Thompson Florida

The invasive thrips parvispinus is a tiny, elusive insect that has spread across Florida with a growing appetite for various fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops. Since it first emerged in a central Florida greenhouse in 2020, the pest has caused significant damage to various industries and even spread to residential areas. In South Florida, the gardenia and mandevilla production industries experienced major …

UF/IFAS Extension Receives $2.7 Million in Strategic Funding to Upgrade Technology Infrastructure

Clint Thompson Florida

Data-driven decision making is at the core of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). To support this effort, Extension will receive a software makeover with $2.7 million in strategic funding from the office of UF President Ben Sasse. “IFAS is one of UF’s powerhouses, positively shaping the future of Florida’s agricultural industry,” Sasse said. “The …

UF/IFAS Blueberry Scientist Named Horticulture Crop Breeding Endowed Chair

Clint Thompson Florida

A veteran blueberry researcher has been named the University of Florida’s Horticulture Crop Breeding Endowed Chair, recognizing the royalties generated by the fruit varieties he’s developed for global farming and consumption. Patricio Muñoz, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) associate professor of horticultural sciences, was recently awarded the professorship by J. Scott Angle, UF interim …

UF/IFAS Research: Is Calabaza the Next Great Gourd for Southeast Growers?

Clint Thompson Florida

If you have eaten at various Caribbean, Central or South American restaurants, you might be familiar with a specialty pumpkin called the calabaza. It is the center of the plate for a team of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers hoping the gourd is ripe for a new industry in the Southeast. With two years …

Mechanical Harvesters a Key Focus of UF/IFAS Tomato Breeding Research

Clint Thompson Florida, Tomatoes

By Clint Thompson Sustainability in the tomato industry likely will rely on automation. It only makes sense for tomato breeding research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to focus on developing varieties that can be harvested mechanically. Edgar Sierra, a post-doctoral researcher at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, discussed tomato breeding …

UF/IFAS Food Safety Expert Provides Scoop on Holiday Leftovers

Clint Thompson Florida

When it comes to holiday planning, the last item on anyone’s list is a bout with food poisoning. “Most people are lulled into a false sense of security because foodborne illnesses are rare,” said Keith Schneider, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) food safety expert in the UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition department. “You …

It’s a First: Scientists Find Ethyl Vanillin in UF/IFAS-Bred Strawberry

Clint Thompson Florida

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have found ethyl vanillin — an aroma compound in many artificial vanilla-flavored food products — in a UF/IFAS-bred strawberry. This is a key finding for the food and beverage industry and for the UF/IFAS strawberry breeding program. Vanilla beans contain the character-impact compound vanillin, which imparts vanilla flavor. Ethyl …

South Florida Leaders to Honor Miami-Dade County Farmers Month at UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center

Web Admin Events, Florida

On Nov. 4, South Florida leaders and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will commemorate Miami-Dade County Farmers Month during the 9th annual One Night in the Tropics. This premier philanthropic event will pay homage to those who harvest the fields of food that feed our communities. At the same time, it will raise funds for the University …

UF/IFAS Utilizes AI for Herbicide Application

Web Admin Agriculture Research, Agriculture Technology

By Clint Thompson One University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher is using artificial intelligence (AI) to apply herbicides more efficiently. Nathan Boyd’s research will help growers to not make chemical applications where they are not needed. “We use artificial intelligence that we’ve trained to differentiate. You could train it to differentiate species. We’ve decided that’s not really …