Monthly Archives: April 2013

UF / Hort Sci Weed Science in Top Ranking

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Purple nutsedge, one of many tough Florida weeds

Integrated weed management (IWM) systems leverage a holistic understanding of weed biology and ecology to ensure effective results.  A recent study examined the scope of weed science efforts in the world and the contributions in various areas of weed control, such as preventive weed management, weed biology, and weed detection, among others.

The University of Florida ranked highly in all of these areas, oftentimes just behind large federal agencies like the USDA and Ag Canada.  Rankings were primarily determined from the numbers of peer-reviewed journal articles published from 1994 to 2012.

The UF Horticultural Sciences Department has played a key role in UF’s outstanding rankings.  A long-standing program by Dr. Bill Stall and recent research by new faculty continue the trend.

As quoted in SouthEast Ag Net Hort Science Assistant Professor Peter Dittmar noted, “Florida produces about 150 outdoor-grown crops that need weed control, everything from ornamental horticulture to pastures. To meet the challenges, UF/IFAS routinely employs 10-12 weed scientists, compared with two or three in states with less-diverse agriculture.”

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Grosser Honored as ASHS Fellow

Horticultural Sciences Professor Dr. Jude Grosser was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences.

The distinction is provided to a limited number of scientists that have provided outstanding contributions to horticulture. Dr. Grosser is a citrus biotechnologist that has pioneered the producion of somatic hybrid plants that help meet many of the challenges to the Florida citrus industry.

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Imaging the Quality in the Seed

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A review of  maize phenotyping techniques appears in Seed Genomics

UF Horticultural Sciences researchers utilize special imaging techniques to measure the oils, proteins and carbohydrates in maize seeds, without destroying them.  The group, led by UF Associate Professor  Mark Settles, uses near-infrared spectral scattering and other imaging to understand the contents of seeds in a non-destructive way.  These assays are important because they are rapid, inexpensive and can accurately identify mutants with enhanced qualities.  These qualities can then be easily linked to genes that can help describe the mechanisms behind production of important metabolites.

A review the major digital imaging and spectroscopy technologies that can be used to characterize plant seed phenotypes was published in the book Seed Genomics.

Gustin, J. L. and Settles, A. M. (2013) Machine Vision for Seed Phenomics, in Seed Genomics (ed P. W. Becraft), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118525524.ch13

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Hort Science Grad Student Wins Distinction

Third year graduate student Alan Chambers was recognized with

  • the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science for Life Graduate Student Award. This award recognizes graduate students who participate in research and publication opportunities in the life sciences in collaboration with undergraduates.

Alan has published three peer-reviewed papers as first author, with three separate undergraduates he mentored serving as co-authors.  His efforts not only reflect commitment to his own work, but also enriching the educational experiences of others.

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New Grapefruit Publication one of IFAS’ Best

A new grapefruit line has significant potential to be  a game changer in Florida.  The grapefruit is seedless, but most of all does not contain Furanocoumarins, a class of molecule that inhibits enzymes in the liver that can affect the metabolism of certain drugs.

The new grapefruit was developed by Horticultural Sciences researchers Chunxian Chen and Fred Gmitter at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.  The paper,  “Characterization of Furanocoumarin Profile and Interitance Toward Selection of Low Furanocoumarin Seedless Grapefruit Cultivars”, was published in the September 2011 Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences. 

The paper was acknowledged during a recent IFAS awards ceremony as one of the best of the last two years.

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