Florida’s universities continue to combat citrus greening


TWO FLORIDA SCHOOLS are continuing their part in fighting against (and protecting Florida’s citrus industry from) HLB, or citrus greening — the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida.

This year, UCF was awarded $1.9 million to create a method that protects against HLB. In 2015, UCF researcher Swadeshmukul Santra and his team received a $1.7 million grant from the USDA to study how nanoparticles guard against citrus greening. With his grant, he invented a tiny particle that could permanently halt the spread of citrus greening. His team is currently undergoing field trials for that project, but this new $1.9 million grant will allow them to ensure the safety of bees, birds, and other organisms while conducting their research. This research prompted the USDA to recognize UCF as a “Center for Excellence,” recognizing the school’s outstanding work and success as a research institution.

The University of Florida is also doing its part to battle HLB. In 2015, it received a $4.6 million USDA grant. UF researchers are working to develop a new technique that uses lasers to treat citrus greening in already-infected trees.

The research conducted at these two universities will usher in new technology and methods for handling HLB and prevent the decimation of Florida citrus crops.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their land. As a full-service custom dry and liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection products distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture.

For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team members will be in touch.

This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer.

CREDIT

column by MIKE ROBERTS

BIO: Mike Roberts is the division manager of the Frostproof, Fla.- based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a bachelor of science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He currently is the vice chairman of the Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association.

Posted March 29, 2016