An exciting development with genome sequencing, timely research in the face of COVID-19 and an update on sting nematode research headline October’s All In For Citrus podcast.
Citrus Research and Education Center Director Michael Rogers details the benefits of recent news about the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) mapping the trifoliate orange genome. He says it’s a truly complete sequence that will allow researchers to use it as a template for future hybrid rootstock varieties.
Rogers adds that detailed information about the genome sequencing can be found on the revamped UF/IFAS Citrus Research website. He describes the site as a powerful one-stop-shop tool for growers to stay updated on industry research.
Another exciting announcement from UF/IFAS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that food safety professor Michelle Danyluk and her team received to ‘prove the negative.’
Danyluk is working with researchers across the United States to put some hard data behind the lack of coronavirus transmission from food and food packaging. The Centers for Disease Control said early on in the pandemic that the virus likely could not be passed along to a consumer buying food at the store. Danyluk says the research will prove that scientifically and help relay that information to the general public with a new website.
Sting nematodes can be a big issue for growers, and the problem seems to have gotten worse over the last several years. The pest weakens the roots of the citrus tree, which is especially troublesome when growers are already dealing with HLB disease.
UF/IFAS nematology professor Larry Duncan says these small worms could be particularly problematic for younger trees when growers are replanting. His research is testing a new wave of nematicides, alongside some of the old ones, to see which are most effective.
Duncan’s team is also testing the non-host peanut plant in row middles. So far, the practice is acting as a cover crop and suppressing sting nematodes in row middles at an impressive rate.