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|Note from the Dean for Researc...|
|Table of Contents|
|Gardening in space|
|In Lori Warren's research, nothing...|
|Making the lantana Florida-fri...|
|Researching the mysteries...|
|Models for boosting U.S. orange...|
|Meeting the need for protein|
|Traditions of land ownership|
|A virtual collection of Florida's...|
|Florida peaches are grown around...|
|Black mold in the environment|
|Team analyzes data|
|No fishing, no swimming|
|The beach ecosystem protects both...|
|Living with citrus canker|
|International work fosters peaceful...|
|Finding what works for farmers...|
|Developing new varieties of...|
|Lucky call leads to unprecedented...|
|Helping farmers cope with tomato...|
|The science of clean water|
|Plant science unit is a smorgasboard...|
|Keeping the focus on research|
|Research foundation professors|
|Patents and licensing|
|UF/IFAS statewide research and...|
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Note from the Dean for Research
Table of Contents
Gardening in space
In Lori Warren's research, nothing goes to waste
Making the lantana Florida-friendly
Researching the mysteries of rivers
Models for boosting U.S. orange juice imports to Canada
Meeting the need for protein
Traditions of land ownership
A virtual collection of Florida's endangered species
Florida peaches are grown around the world
Black mold in the environment
Team analyzes data
No fishing, no swimming
The beach ecosystem protects both beach mice and people
Living with citrus canker
International work fosters peaceful collaboration
Finding what works for farmers and the environment
Developing new varieties of pothos
Lucky call leads to unprecedented insect eradication effort
Helping farmers cope with tomato diseases
The science of clean water
Plant science unit is a smorgasboard of research
Keeping the focus on research
Research foundation professors
Patents and licensing
UF/IFAS statewide research and education network
SLOR*A AGRICLTUAL EXEIMN SATI5
Th Fonato fo Th 9*o Naio
NOTE FROM THE DEAN FOR RESEARCH
WT come to Florida's
SStation. With almost 1000
faculty across 17 disciplines, 13 Research
and Education Centers and 67 counties,
we offer an extraordinary breadth of
science for agricultural, natural resources
and human systems. Our faculty is at
the core of this science-together, they
define our capacity, our vision and our
direction. This annual report is a col-
lection of articles reflecting some of the
groundbreaking accomplishments of our
With strong programs in the core
agricultural sciences, we are working
with the private sector to implement discoveries
for floriculture, grains and forages, cattle, aqua-
culture, fruit and vegetables, and landscaping-all
supported by a team of over 20 breeders pushing
the limits on new cultivars and germplasm to
feed Florida, the United States and the world. In
this report, you will read about new peaches that
can aggressively compete on the market and new
Pothos varieties resistent to pathogens.
We are discovering answers in support of
Florida's natural resources and with our research
we endeavor to support the best partnership be-
tween agriculture, natural resources and society.
Whether it be with forests, panthers, fisheries, soil
or water-IFAS faculty are involved. We put our
discoveries, our innovations and our applications
to work preserving and enhancing Florida's natural
resources and our environment. Follow some of
these natural resource discoveries in stories on the
science of clean water, helping farmers and their
environment, and preserving endangered plant
As a relative newcomer to Florida, I can attest
that it doesn't take long to become acquainted
with the issues of pests and invasives. Whether
they are the six legged kind, the microbial kind
or the growing vine-Florida is the U.S. capital
for invasives. For IFAS scientists, this means their
work is a constant battle requiring vast resources
and continued awareness and scrutiny of our en-
vironment. Read as our scientists chronicle their
battles against tomato diseases and tree termites as
well as their quest to convert invasive lantana into
a beautiful Florida-friendly plant.
Among the issues that IFAS faculty conduct
research on, some focus on our diet and health,
others on our food system and still others on our
society from family to community. These are
subjects near to our hearts, close to our homes,
and critical to our future. We are committed to
pushing our research to unveil new levels of un-
derstanding, incorporating the social science along
with the laboratory science. Join our faculty in
their search for new answers while reading about
black mold in our homes, beautiful lakes where
contamination means no fishing and no swim-
ming, or how beach mice are struggling to live
together with people.
As we build teams to solve problems, we often
need to bring unique and disparate disciplines
together. This requires innovative science and
creative leaps in technology. This year, the State
of Florida committed to UF an unprecedented
allocation of $50 million for a new Emerging
Pathogens Center. Bringing together plants, ani-
mals, microbes and man-this center will be a
magnet for disease research, challenging some of
UF's best researchers on critical issues concern-
ing food, agriculture, natural resources and our
The faculty and staff of the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station are proud to serve
our state, and we believe the quality of our science
delivers solutions for our lives. Through discovery,
innovation and application, we can make a differ-
ence. We hope you enjoy this brief glimpse into
our world of research.
Dean and Director
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
4 Gardening in Space
6 In Lori Warren's Research,
Nothing Goes to Waste
8 Making the Lantana
10 Researching the Mysteries
12 Models for Boosting U.S. Orange
Juice Imports to Canada
14 Meeting the Need for Protein
16 Traditions of Land Ownership
18 A Virtual Collection of Florida's
Endangered Plant Species
20 Florida Peaches are Grown
Around the World
22 Black Mold in the Environment
24 Team Analyzes Data to Answer
Important Natural Resources
26 No Fishing, No Swimming
32 Molecular Profiling
34 International Work Fosters
36 Finding What Works for Farmers
and the Environment
38 Developing New Varieties
40 Lucky Call Leads to
42 Helping Farmers Cope with
44 The Science of Clean Water
MARK R. McLELLAN
Dean for Research and Director,
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
MARY L. DURYEA
Associate Dean for Research
GEORGE J. HOCHMUTH
Associate Dean for Research
DOUGLAS L. ARCHER
Associate Dean for Research
PRODUCER Marzinnia Dean
WRITER Cindy Spence
PHOTO EDITOR Thomas S. Wright
DESIGNER Tracy D. Zwillinger
PHOTOGRAPHERS Thomas S. Wright
COPY EDITORS Darryl Palmer
PRINTED BY StorterChilds Printing
Featured Spotlight: Plant Science
Unit is a Smorgasbord of Research
46 Featured Spotlight: Keeping the
Focus on Research
50 Research Foundation Professors
53 Patents and Licensing
RESEARCH REPORT is published by the University of Floridas
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and is produced by
IFAS Communication Services (Ashley M. Wood, Director).
To change an address, request extra copies of RESEARCH
REPORT, or to be added to the mailing list, e-mail
email@example.com or write to Research Administration,
PO. Box 110200, University of Florida, Gainesville,
RESEARCH REPORT is available in alternative formats.
Visit our Web site: http://research.ifas.ufl.edu
The Beach Ecosystem Protects
Both Beach Mice and People
54 Financial Report
55 Research Awards
30 Living with Citrus Canker
( COPYRIGHT 2007 BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/IFAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED I RESEARCH REPORT
When Melanie Correll was a child, she visited Walt Disney's
Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow-
EPCOT-where her favorite attraction was a people-
mover ride that took her past a scene of orange trees growing on Mars.
Today, as a University of Florida scientist in agricultural and biologi-
cal engineering, the International Space Station and shuttle launches
are key components of her work, and exploration of Mars is no longer a
Correll is studying the way plants grow in space, specifically how
they respond to light and gravity, and designing hardware that allows
IG IN SPACE
plants to grow at the Space Station. Since 2001, she has been work-
ing with Miami University plant physiologist John Kiss. The first half
of their experiment went up on the Space Shuttle Discovery on July
4, 2006 and the second half went up on the Space Shuttle Atlantis on
Sept. 9. December's shuttle mission brought back the first half of the
The years since 2001 have been packed with research to perfect an
experiment suitable for space travel. Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale cress,
was chosen as the plant because it is small, has a short life cycle and its
genome is entirely mapped, making it possible to assess the genetic
HAPPENS THAT YOU
DON'T EXPECT, BUT OUR
KNOWLEDGE IS GROWING
WITH EACH MISSION."
Assistant Professor Melanie Correll examines
hardware containing frozen seedlings that were
grown on the International Space Station.
4 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
Photo courtesy of NASA
effects of space on the plants. Designing
the hardware has been a challenge. On the
International Space Station, every inch
is premium property, so the research has
been an exercise in miniaturization.
"First, we needed to design little,
tiny greenhouses," Correll said. "And
we needed something that wouldn't use
much of the astronauts' time or the Space
Correll and her colleagues designed
tiny cassettes, about 2 inches long and 1/2
by 12-inch square on the ends, made with
stainless steel and polycarbonate plastic.
The seeds, 14 per cassette, were glued
onto a strip of blotter paper. Openings
in the bottom allowed water to be placed
onto the paper, which filtered the water
and hydrated the seeds. In trials on earth,
the moisture caused condensation on the
clear plastic. So a tiny heater was inserted
to prevent condensation from blocking
the view of a video camera, which kept
watch, filming the growth of the plants
through the plastic window. Watering was
automated, so the astronauts only had to
load and unload the cassettes and replace
The design went through many trials
on the ground to be sure it had a good
starting point for space, Correll said.
"NASA is looking for low-input ex-
periments," Correll said. "With only two
astronauts, it takes a lot of time just to
keep the Space Station afloat, so they can't
spend a lot of time watering plants or
monitoring their growth."
In all, 120 cassettes carrying 1,680
thale cress seeds went up. And in spite of
the years of planning, some things were
beyond control. In one group, there was a
power outage. In another, there was a leak
that led to 10 times the amount of carbon
dioxide needed. Back on earth, Correll
said, the best the scientists can do is try to
replicate what happened in space and then
compare the earth-grown and space-grown
plants. Everything that happens, however,
generates information to analyze.
"Something always happens that you
don't expect, but our knowledge is grow-
ing with each mission," Correll said.
Kiss has sent two experiments into
space. In one, ethylene gas got into the
plant chamber, causing the plants to grow
in crazy directions. From that experience,
Correll said, the team knew to include
ethylene scrubbers in future experiments.
"We're building up our knowledge,
sharing it throughout the community, and
some of our studies are already helping
the people who will send up experiments
after us," Correll said. "For example, we're
the first to use the European Modular
Cultivation System. We're the guinea pig."
Correll was in Trondheim, Norway,
monitoring the experiment from the
Norwegian User Support and Operations
Center, when the first batch of plants
landed at Kennedy Space Center in
December. The plants were brought to
UF for analysis both at the Agricultural
and Biological Engineering Department
and at the Interdisciplinary Center for
Biotechnology Research. Scientists are as-
sessing how well the engineering design
and watering systems worked and looking
at how the light and gravity in space af-
fected the plant's genetics.
The future applications of her research
range from practical to aesthetic, Correll
said. Growing crops for long-term space
missions is an obvious goal. But plants
are useful for waste recovery, fuel, and
air and water purification. Eventually,
space-grown plants might yield new phar-
maceutical products. For the astronauts,
miles from home, tending "gardens" offers
a huge psychological benefit, helping them
feel less homesick.
Correll worries that reduced funding
for basic research in life sciences will force
scientists away from the field and hopes
that NASA and government agencies will
begin to direct funding back into funda-
mental science in space. Education, she
says, is the reason for the Space Station,
and the investment in the science thus far
has yielded a good foundation.
"We've built up a knowledge base that
will be lost if we don't continue to fund
it," Correll said. "To get to all the things
plants can do for us in space will take years
For Correll, who says she has always
liked plants and fixing things, a career in
agricultural and biological engineering was
a natural fit. She may not ever really see
orange trees on Mars, but with the end of
her scientific journey decades away, she's
not ruling it out. i;t'
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 5
GOES TO WASTE
n University of Florida Professor Lori Warren's research, nothing
need go to waste-not even horse manure. In fact, Warren believes
horse manure can be an asset, rather than an expense.
Warren's expertise is in equine nutrition, and until a few years ago
she never thought of investigating ways to manage manure.
"How do you explain to people that you work with horse poo?"
Warren smiled. "But what goes in, must come out, and we can manage
manure to make it more useful."
There's no need to explain the horse manure issue to the owners of
Florida's 500,000 horses. Each year, those horses generate 4.5 million
tons of manure and soiled bedding, which can be an economic problem
for the owners and an environmental problem for the state. Warren and
her graduate researchers visited more than 125 horse operations-evenly
divided between north, central and south Florida-to do on-site evalua-
tions of their manure management practices. She found a wide variety of
disposal methods, and an equally wide range in horse owners' awareness
of the impact of their actions on the environment.
The issue is timely, Warren says. From a regulatory standpoint, the
federal government has turned attention from industrial sources of water
pollution to agricultural sources, especially livestock. Regulations also
define horses as livestock, equating one horse to two cows, something
Warren hopes will change following her research.
"Equating one horse with two cows isn't a data-based decision,"
Warren said. "The average horse weighs about as much as the average
cow and the amount of manure they excrete is similar."
Dr. Lori Warren (right) and graduate students
Drew Cotton and Sarah Dilling monitor the prog-
ress of horse manure and bedding materials that
are undergoing composting.
To determine the risk horse manure
poses, Warren realized she would need
to answer the most basic question of all:
What does horse manure contain?
"So few people are working in this area
that we really don't have a good idea what
makes horse manure a risk for pollution. Is
it the phosphorus? Is it the nitrogen? That
data is not available," Warren said.
And although the composition of
horse manure varies depending on what
the animals are fed, the biggest variable of
all, Warren said, is the bedding that gets
mixed in with the manure. Warren found
that more than 75 percent of Florida
horse owners were using wood shavings.
Many of these owners were spreading
the manure/bedding mix on pastures as
fertilizer, thinking the nitrogen in the
manure would foster plant growth. What
they didn't realize is that the carbon in the
wood shavings actually suppresses plant
Then there were operations, such as
boarding stables and racetracks, without
the option of spreading the waste on pas-
tureland. As Florida grows, horses are be-
ing kept on increasingly smaller properties
to incorporate them into the urban scene,
leaving fewer alternatives for manure
"If there's no pasture-and that's more
and more common-that's a big chal-
lenge," Warren said. "There's this great
volume of manure, but no land base. It's
a real problem, and some owners pay very
large amounts of money to have the ma-
nure hauled away. Only now, more and
more landfills are not accepting it. What
are they supposed to do with it?"
At UF's 65-acre Horse Teaching Unit
south of campus, Warren is researching
whether composting might be the answer.
The manure and stall materials generated
from the university's horses are deposited
in specially built composting bins, so
the composting process can be studied.
The horse teaching unit makes an ideal
demonstration site because it operates as
a typical horse farm with 20-40 horses at
"We're working at farm scale, not lab
scale, so it's more representative of the
conditions the average horse owner would
have to contend with," Warren said.
One of the biggest limitations in
composting horse stall materials seems to
be the high carbon content of the wood
bedding. The microorganisms that break
down manure require a specific ratio of
carbon to nitrogen. Too much carbon can
slow the composting process. Warren has
addressed this issue by adding varying
amounts of nitrogen to determine its ef-
fect on how well and how fast the materi-
als break down. She also has experimented
with slow-release ureas, which may prove
to be a better nitrogen amendment for
composting horse stall materials.
"In the future, we also hope to look at
different aeration systems and reducing
overall particle size, which could improve
composting," Warren said. Her goal is to
come up with guidelines flexible enough
that any horse owner can compost effec-
tively. Equine-related research sometimes
is overlooked by other agencies, Warren
said, so she particularly appreciates
the support she gets from the Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Arriving at an inexpensive composting
formula that works would be a huge ben-
efit to horse owners.
"Ultimately, we can create a better
product that is possibly marketable,"
Warren said. "Rather than pay to have ma-
nure hauled away, horse owners can make
money by selling it. It might be possible to
match those who have manure with those
who have a use for it. We can reduce the
environmental risk of manure and market
this byproduct, too." ;1
"WHAT GOES IN, MUST
COME OUT, AND WE CAN
MANAGE MANURE TO
MAKE IT MORE USEFUL."
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
t takes a lot to impress a floricultural scientist, but when Zhanao
Deng saw a lantana blooming in 116-degree heat in Las Vegas, it
got his attention.
The hardy lantana is drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant and salt-toler-
ant. It blooms year-round and attracts butterflies. It is low-maintenance
and easy to grow. Its plentiful blooms come in a variety of colors. There
is just one problem: Lantana camera is listed as a category I invasive
plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, making it a public en-
emy of some magnitude. Its crime? Contaminating the gene pool of
Florida's own native lantana species, Lantana depressa.
That's why Deng and Brent Harbaugh, floriculturists from the
University of Florida's Environmental Horticulture Department, have
teamed up with soil scientist Craig Stanley. Working at UF's Gulf Coast
Research and Education Center in Hillsborough County, the researchers
are trying to develop sterile lantana to protect Florida's native species,
Lantana depressa. Many commercial lantana varieties are particularly
good at hybridizing with the native lantana because the commercial vari-
eties produce an abundance of pollen, so the focus has been on produc-
ing sterile varieties that do not produce pollen.
"Lantana in Florida is an important nursery and landscape plant,"
Deng said. "The industry is interested in using this valuable plant but
wants to be good environmental stewards."
Left to right: Graduate student David Czarnecki
and Dr. Zhanao Deng examine new lantana
plants they developed.
Keeping the popular lantana on nurs-
ery shelves would be a boost to the indus-
try. There are as many as 5,000 nurseries
in Florida. A recent survey showed that
some 20 percent of Florida nurseries grow
lantana, which is valued at $20 million a
year in nursery sales.
"The bottom line is, if Zhanao can do
what he proposes to do, this will offer an
alternative to growers," said Stanley, who
also is associate director of the research
center. "Growers will have something
compatible with the environment, and we
can protect the native lantana."
The project started two years ago and
has several years to go. Deng and his col-
leagues have developed new lantana that is
now being evaluated. In addition to mak-
ing sure the new variety does not produce
pollen or seeds, it will be evaluated to be
sure it keeps all the characteristics that
made lantana so popular in the first place.
Stanley, the soil scientist, is evaluating
water usage by the plant, and Harbaugh,
a production expert, is evaluating the
growth characteristics of the new variety.
Doing the work at the 475-acre re-
search center near Wimauma is a plus,
"The big advantage of a research center
is that all of us, of different disciplines, are
across the hall from each other. We don't
have to go across campus to find a soil
scientist or a plant breeder," Stanley said.
"And this fits with the thrust of our center
now, landscape management for the urban
Deng said getting to the point of eval-
uating plants has been a long road, and he
has just about lived in the greenhouse.
"It has been tough to get to where
the plant won't produce seeds, because
first you need it to produce lots of seeds,"
Deng said. The payoff, however, will be
worth it if it protects the Florida environ-
ment from an invader.
Deng said as awareness has grown of
the problem invasive plants and animals
pose for Florida's ecosystem, more people
are becoming interested in protecting the
environment. Desirable commercial plants
will not pose a threat if plant breeders can
successfully manipulate them.
"We want to be sure this plant is ster-
ile, that it doesn't breed, and the consumer
won't see much of a difference," Deng
"THE INDUSTRY IS
INTERESTED IN USING
THIS VALUABLE PLANT
WANTS TO BE GOOD
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
The romance of rivers runs through American culture-like
Huckleberry Finn rafting down the mighty Mississippi. But
the science of rivers is more elusive, and that's where University
of Florida aquatic scientist Bill Pine and his Florida Rivers Laboratory
"Everybody can tell you the name of a river," Pine said. "But rivers
are really an aquatic system we don't understand very well. What fish are
there and how do they use the river? Is the river more similar to a lake or
an estuary, or is it totally its own environment?"
Pine's expertise with rivers has taken him from the Grand Canyon
to Hawaii and back to Florida, where the focus of his research now is
the Apalachicola River in the Panhandle. The Apalachicola isn't just
a Florida river, though. Its waters start in Georgia and run through
Alabama as part of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system
before crossing the Florida border and draining into the Gulf of Mexico.
For more than a decade, the three states have been in disputes about
allocation and management of water in the Apalachicola River and its
The Apalachicola River supports a variety of freshwater recreational
fisheries, several species of threatened or endangered fish and freshwater
mussels, and contributes most of the fresh water to Apalachicola Bay,
one of Florida's most ecologically and economically important estuaries.
Dr. Bill Pine, Assistant Professor, Fisheries and
Aquatic Sciences, demonstrates the use of a
radio receiver to monitor a section of the Santa
Fe River for tagged fish.
"Florida is at the end of the chain for
water allocation, so we need to make sure
there is enough water in the system to
keep the Apalachicola River and estuary
healthy," Pine said. "We need to answer
what is the minimum flow and water
level for the river. That's a big question
for Florida. How much river water can be
used so that there's no negative impact to
the aquatic species that live in the river?"
Pine has been working with state and
federal agencies on studies to determine
how changes in water flow affect fish pop-
ulations. One project examined the move-
ments and spawning locations of Gulf
sturgeon, a threatened species. Pine and
fellow researchers tagged fish and tracked
their movements to find out how they use
the river and its tributaries.
"We tag fish to create sub-
populations that we know something
about. We know at least 500 were pres-
ent in a location at one time, because we
tagged 500 animals in that area," Pine
said. "We also use smaller numbers of
telemetry tags that emit a unique signal
from each animal and allow us to follow
an animal's movement patterns. This al-
lows us to really examine fine-scale move-
ment and habitat use patterns."
The research so far has revealed two
sturgeon spawning locations, one of
which was previously unknown. It also
has shown that spawning goes on for a
longer period of time in the Apalachicola
than previously documented, from at least
April to May, and that the sturgeon travel
widely up and down the Apalachicola and
its tributaries and into the estuary. The
study also revealed that fish found in other
Panhandle rivers came to the Apalachicola
to spawn, indicating the sturgeon are mov-
ing between river systems as part of their
life cycle of moving from the ocean to
the estuary to the river to their spawning
grounds, and then repeating that cycle.
Pine said identifying the spawning
sites and time periods has implications for
fisheries managers, who would want to be
sure there is enough water flow during the
spring to allow the sturgeon to swim to
Rivers are like conduits, Pine said.
Along with the water itself, they carry
fish, other animals, people, nutrients, and
pollutants. Events upstream affect what
happens downstream. The Apalachicola's
headwaters are in northeast Georgia, near
the metropolis of Atlanta. The city's need
for water and possible plans to build more
reservoirs to meet the needs of rapid popu-
lation growth will affect how much water
reaches the mouth of the Apalachicola
at the Gulf of Mexico. The Apalachicola
River system is also impacted by other
dams and dredging operations that affect
downstream fish habitats.
"The big debate is between what is
more valuable: meeting human needs for
explosive growth or meeting ecosystem
and habitat needs for fish populations.
Is water only important for human use?"
"FLORIDA IS AT THE END
OF THE CHAIN FOR WATER
ALLOCATION, SO WE NEED
TO MAKE SURE THERE IS
ENOUGH WATER IN THE
SYSTEM TO KEEP THE
AND ESTUARY HEALTHY."
Pine said. "We need to look at river sys-
tems collectively as a unit. Fish probably
see rivers this way, so it's important to
know how extensively they move, where
they move, and why they use the types of
habitats they are found in. We've found a
variety of habitats that fish use at all times.
"The big issue is how humans use river
systems," Pine said, "and how fish popula-
tions respond to that." i't
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
MODELS FOR BOOSTING
U.S. ORANGE JUICE
IM PORTS TO CANADA
"WE'RE IN A WORLD
MATTERS. JUICE IS
PART OF THE BEVERAGE
MARKET, AND JUST THINK
OF ALL THE ADVERTISING
THAT GOES INTO COLAS."
b -- RICHARD KILMER
anada is already a loyal customer when it comes to buying
orange juice from the United States, University of Florida
Food and Resource Economics Department researcher
Richard Kilmer says.
But orange juice producers always like to boost sales and gain mar-
ket share, so Kilmer and graduate researcher Yan Liu applied econo-
metric models to find out the best way to achieve those goals.
The models explored which of two ways-dropping prices or using
advertising-would be the best way for the United States to increase
its share of the Canadian orange juice market. Although U.S. citrus
producers have not been advertising in Canada in the last several years,
the value of U.S. orange juice sold in Canada has been increasing in
comparison to other competitors, Kilmer said.
Brazil, the largest orange juice producer in the world, is the United
States' main competitor, but it has been losing market share in Canada.
Using a variety of econometric models, Liu and Kilmer plugged in
data provided by Statistics Canada, International Trade Division. The
data covered the period from the first half of 1990 through the second
half of 2005 and provided details on orange juice import quantities
and values from different countries and regions. Data were provided
for U.S. imports, Brazilian imports, Mexican imports, and imports
from the rest of the world.
While neither a drop in price nor an increase in advertising
amounted to big percentage gains, the United States benefited more
from advertising than Brazil did, Kilmer said.
A U.S. price drop of 1 percent, for instance, increased the quantity
of U.S. juice sold in Canada by 0.17 percent. Likewise, a Brazilian
price drop of 1 percent increased the quantity of Brazilian juice sold in
Canada by 0.17 percent, the same as the U.S.
Advertising, however, had a bigger impact. A 1 percent increase in
imported gallons of orange juice due to advertising will increase U.S.
imports by 1.2 percent and Brazilian imports by 0.6 percent, the study
"We're in a world where advertising matters," Kilmer said. "Juice is
part of the beverage market, and just think of all the advertising that
goes into colas. People now drink cola at breakfast rather than orange
juice, in fact."
Other factors, too, likely affect Canadian imports of U.S. orange
juice, Kilmer said. For one, the juice the United States sends to Canada
is not-from-concentrate. The orange juice Brazil sends to Canada is
"People seem to like not-from-concentrate better; it's never frozen,
just kept cold and shipped. People in the United States like it bet-
ter, too," Kilmer said. "But to ship not-from-concentrate from Brazil
would be cost-prohibitive.
Although U.S. citrus processors have done well without advertising
in Canada for the last several years, if they want to do better, advertis-
ing, appears to be the best marketing strategy, Kilmer said.
"An expansion of total Canadian orange juice import gallons, us-
ing advertising favors the United States much more than it does other
countries," Kilmer said. -;'1
200oo6 RESEARCH REPORT 13
MEETING THE NEED FOR PROTEIN
t may not sound appetizing, but the parts of a fish that you
normally don't eat are as good for you as the parts you enjoy in a
nice seafood dinner.
And with the efforts of researchers like University of Florida food
biochemist Hordur Kristinsson, you soon may be dining on this high-
quality protein or using it as a nutritional supplement.
"A very large amount of byproducts remain unutilized after fish pro-
cessing," Kristinsson said. "We can take these byproducts and recover
the proteins, which are extremely functional and powerful antioxidants,
and make them more usable."
As fish are filleted for market, the byproducts often are discarded or
used in animal feed. These leftovers-bones, heads, fins and chunks of
meat left on the bone-can be reprocessed to extract protein of a very
high purity for human consumption, Kristinsson said.
The technology to isolate and recover the protein already has been
commercialized, so the next step for Kristinsson and his colleagues is
taking that protein and breaking it down. By using enzymes, the protein
"WE CAN MEET THE
DEMAND FOR PROTEIN
BY USING MORE OF THE
FISH. MANY BYPRODUCTS
ARE HIGH IN QUALITY
PROTEIN, BUT OFTEN
Dr. Hordur Kristinsson, Assistant Professor,
Food Science and Human Nutrition
14 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
can be divided into smaller fragments with
various uses. The result is a pure protein
that can be used to fortify food or as a nu-
"It amounts to predigesting it,"
Kristinsson said, "like what happens in the
Kristinsson recently teamed up with
the UF College of Medicine Department
of Aging to explore the health benefits of
the protein. In one upcoming study, the
researchers will use human white blood
cells, apply stress to the cells, then see if
the protein reduces the stress.
The researchers' recent studies show
that the protein could have therapeutic
use in reducing high blood pressure or
relieving the effects of oxidative stress. The
studies also indicate the protein could be
useful to improve food quality by extend-
ing the shelf life of seafoods, mainly by
reducing rancidity. Kristinsson also is col-
laborating with researchers in Sweden and
Iceland who are studying the protein on a
Kristinsson said making the most of
seafood as a food resource for humans is
becoming more important as the world
supply of protein declines.
"Demand on fish stocks has in-
creased, but the stock offish is declin-
ing," Kristinsson said. "We can meet the
demand for protein by using more of the
fish. Many byproducts are high in quality
protein, but often poorly utilized."
Environmentally, there's a benefit as
well. In areas where the bones, fins and
heads legally can be dumped back into the
water, they can become sources of water
pollution. Seafood processors who legally
cannot dump the byproducts often send
them to landfills, usually at considerable
expense. Soon, instead of spending money
to get rid of the byproducts, they will be
able to make money by selling them.
"This can certainly help to reduce
some of the pollutants in areas where this
is thrown back into the water," Kristinsson
said. "For the processors who send it to
landfills, now they have the option of
making money on it."
The three-year project will run
through 2009 and is funded by a
$355,000 grant from the USDA National
"Our goal is the purest, most func-
tional protein," Kristinsson said. "The
value of it is several magnitudes higher
than what it is used for now." i;t%
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 15
or Americans, the details of a deed to land are specific: you know
your lot's section, township and range, even which page inside
a plat book records the details of your ownership. Chances are,
you can click on your property appraiser's web site and view online the
dimensions of your patio or garage. Land sales are accompanied by legal
experts and a mountain of documents.
But what if your land is in the middle of a rain forest? What if it has
never been bought or sold, but has been handed down for centuries.
What if you share ownership with hundreds of neighbors? How do you
protect your "title" to the land in these circumstances?
University of Florida researchers Grenville Barnes and Tom Ankersen
have been examining the communal property rights of indigenous and
traditional people of Latin America and the role of secure land rights in
easing poverty and protecting the environment. Barnes, of UF's School
of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Ankersen, of UF's Levin
College of Law, are working with a $100,000 grant from the John D.
and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study the evolution of com-
munal property systems.
"The Amazon is not a forest without people," said Barnes, who has
traveled to more than 20 countries for research and consulting work.
"Indigenous and small farmer communities have land. They just don't
have the deed that proves it, so they do not have legal protection of their
For his research, Barnes often begins in the capital of a country,
where he reads the property laws and interviews key government offi-
cials to understand the formal "de jure" property system. When he heads
out into the field, he said, he often finds a striking mismatch between
Dr. Grenville Barnes, Associate Professor,
Forest Resources and Conservation
the legal system and the reality of what is
happening deep in the countryside or rain
forest. While land policies tend to favor
individual property rights, large chunks of
land in Latin America-including 20 per-
cent of the Brazilian Amazon-are owned
communally, making use of the land and
its resources a complex matter.
Barnes said that land policy makers
face three often competing values: eco-
nomic, environmental and social. A policy
that is good for the people economically
could be detrimental to the environment.
Policies that favor the environment may
keep the people impoverished. Similarly,
socially responsible policies may not fully
tap the land's economic potential.
Barnes said some Westerners might
suggest just dividing up all the land and
:i; ,. ~iiCI p r-.,n .lice and a title. The
Iin'p i,[ ." [I'l!, n rl'>. environment and
.in rli, -,il .r,.iri.I.Ir of the community
c.' 'u11l I,. d l- [ rrl LI.
C- ,lil i ll.iiil I ind *..vnership systems
['ar I.L r'ri i 1. i balanced econom-
. l i ir,il.nii r i 1 il..l social values,
In Mexico, 80 percent of the forests are
owned communally under a communal
property regime called an ejido. Several
communities in southeast Mexico have
pursued communal forestry, boosting
economic development while protecting
the environment and culture. Closer to
Mexico City, the world's second-larg-
est city, these communities are under
pressure to sell off their land for urban
The push to formalize indigenous
people's title to land has increased interna-
tionally in the last 10 years, partly because
these people are pushing for it and partly
because of a dawning recognition of the
human right to property. In land disputes,
international courts increasingly are ruling
on behalf of indigenous people, further
pushing governments to title indigenous
"Development banks like the
World Bank and the Inter-American
Development Bank are funding titling
projects because they believe private
property will kick-start development in
the third world," Barnes explained. "This
approach recognizes that land is often the
biggest asset poor people possess, and by
titling it they will be able to access credit
and ultimately work their way out of
poverty." Given available empirical evi-
dence, Barnes is skeptical of this reasoning
because many poorer landholders do not
manage to fight their way out of poverty
even though they have a title.
Barnes grew up in South Africa, where
he became sensitized to the connection
between land and wealth. His research is
interdisciplinary, drawing on knowledge of
anthropology, engineering and law to rec-
oncile the contradictions between western
legal concepts of land ownership and land
ownership as practiced by people with a
rich, centuries-old way of dealing with
"They don't just see property as a com-
modity. It doesn't just belong to them,
Barnes said. "It belongs to all their forefa-
thers, and to everyone who follows them
and is the glue that holds their culture
THAT HAVE THRIVED HAVE
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
Whether you're a botanist in Germany, a graduate student in
South America or a homeowner in Miami with a mystery
plant growing in your back yard, the resources of the
University of Florida Herbarium are at your disposal. And you don't
have to travel to Gainesville-with a few clicks of a keyboard, you can
take a virtual look at the plants you want to see.
The herbarium began working with the UF Libraries Digital Library
Center in 2001 to digitize its collections. With more than 430,000
specimens, this is a huge undertaking, said collections manager Kent
Perkins. Label data from 45,000 specimens have been computerized,
and 5,000 specimens have been imaged and made available online. The
process could be expedited, he said, with more money.
"At the current rate of computerization, we are keeping up with new
additions-3,000 specimens per year on average-and slowly working
on the existing backlog," Perkins said. "This virtual collection is espe-
cially important for land managers, researchers and people doing surveys
to have something to look at. A lot of times you don't see the same de-
tails in a photo that you see in a pressed specimen.
The herbarium, part of the Florida Museum of Natural History
on UF's campus, started its digital collection with its type specimens,
pressed plants that serve as the standard for identifying other plants
in a group. From there, it added invasive plant species listed by the
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, insectivorous plants, samples from
Endangered species imaging project team (left to right): Stephanie
Hass, Assistant Director, Digital Library Center, George Smathers
Libraries; Kent Perkins, Manager of the Collection; Norris William,
Curator, UF Herbarium, Florida Museum of Natural History.
Gainesville's Kanapaha Botanical Gardens,
and selected poisonous plants of Florida.
The collection catalog and digital images
are accessible at:
The next collection to be digitized-
Florida's endangered and threatened
plants-is of special importance.
"The specimens of endangered and
threatened plants stored in the herbarium
are fragile and degrade from handling,"
Perkins said. "These species are no longer
readily collected, due to their protected
status, so it's important to preserve the ex-
The state lists 421 endangered plant
species (44 are also federally listed) and
114 threatened (11 are also federally
listed). The ability to identify and recog-
nize these plants is the key to discovering
them in the landscape and then protecting
them. However, field workers and even
citizens typically are not easily able to visit
the herbarium to inspect a specimen when
they find a plant of interest.
High-quality digital images are the
next best thing to actual specimens for
identifying and studying a plant, Perkins
said. Specimens are pressed and mounted
on archival paper with attention to identi-
fying characteristics that reveal aspects of
a plant not easily seen in drawings or pho-
tographs. Once a specimen is digitized, a
viewer can zoom in for more detail to view
the veins of a leaf or details of flowers and
fruit. Using digital images also protects
the brittle specimens from overhandling,
The herbarium also participates in
loans and exchanges with other institu-
tions. Since specimens may be out on loan
for years-Perkins knows of one loan that
lasted 20 years-each specimen is data-
based before it is sent out. Selected speci-
mens are also imaged, contributing to the
growth of the digital collections.
Digital images also are added to
the collection by the herbarium's Plant
Identification and Information Service
provided by UF's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences. Florida is one of the
most botanically rich states-only Texas
and California have more species-and
farmers, students, researchers, and natural
resource managers all come across plants
that need to be identified.
In one case, a researcher at the
UF/IFAS Indian River Research and
Education Center collected a plant of the
genus Mansoa, but couldn't identify the
species. The herbarium's staff pressed the
specimen, digitized it and put it on the
web, then located an expert in Brazil, who
pulled up the image and identified the
species as Mansoa lanceolata.
"This was an example of something
being cultivated in Florida, but we had no
specimens here in the herbarium. So we
added this to our collection," said Perkins,
noting that the herbarium identifies more
than 1,000 plants per year.
"We can find an expert, put up an im-
age and get an ID," Perkins said. "This al-
lows us to consult with experts throughout
The herbarium began in 1891 as part
of Florida Agriculture College in Lake
City and was moved by covered wagon to
Gainesville in 1906 to become part of UE
It includes specimens that date back to the
"This collection documents the pres-
ence of plants in areas of Florida where
they no longer occur," Perkins said. "It
provides a historic record, and when it
comes to the endangered and threatened
plants, we can't go back and get more." ;t's
"THESE SPECIES ARE NO
COLLECTED, DUE TO THEIR
PROTECTED STATUS, SO
IT'S IMPORTANT TO
PRESERVE THE EXISTING
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
PEACH ES ARE
When Jose Chaparro walks the furrows on the University
of Florida campus farm, he walks in the footsteps of a
favorite professor as he charts a course for research aimed
at producing the perfect subtropical peach.
Chaparro is building on a foundation laid by UF peach pioneers
Ralph Sharp and Wayne Sherman. Strides in technology have advanced
fruit-breeding science by leaps and bounds, but the work still ends up in
the same place, rooted in the soil of the campus farm, where Chaparro
and UF horticultural scientist James Ferguson evaluate the trees and
fruit in hopes of developing a niche peach crop for subtropical Florida.
They are well on their way-since 2005, UF has released three peach
varieties: UFSharp, Flordabest and UFRoyal.
Chaparro is an experienced fruit breeder. He worked for the U.S.
Agricultural Research Service before the opportunity to combine teach-
ing with research lured him back to UE As a student, Chaparro worked
with Sherman and became familiar with the stone fruit breeding pro-
gram. He knows how much cold the ideal peach needs and the right
balance between sugar and acidity. He can visualize its shape and color.
He knows what the growing cycle should be and when it should be har-
vested for maximum value.
And when consumers taste it?
"If you bought this peach in a supermarket," Chaparro says, "you'd
go back and buy a couple of pounds."
But breeding peaches is a balancing act. He can produce a peach
with firm flesh for shipping, but will it ripen during the best market
Left to right: Drs. Jim Ferguson and Jose Chaparro,
Horticultural Sciences, examine the growth of peach crops.
window? He can produce a peach with a
melt-in-your-mouth taste, but will it be
firm enough for shipping?
For Florida's subtropical climate, the
tree would need less chilling than varieties
grown in Georgia and other regions, and
research is under way to understand the
genetic basis for the chilling requirement
in peaches. The ideal tree would bloom af-
ter the risk of a freeze has passed, but ripen
before the start of the rainy season, which
brings plant diseases. To give growers the
highest return, ripening would
occur after peaches from Chile have left
the market but before peaches from Texas
and California hit the market.
The early-ripening peaches develop
very rapidly and contain seed with imma-
ture embryos that require in vitro embryo
rescue for germination. The breeding
program has focused on non-melting flesh
peaches, which have a firmer flesh texture
that allows the growers to keep the fruit
on the tree and market a sweeter, more
"We want to have the fruit picked and
packed and off to the supermarket in the
right market window," Chaparro said. "By
producing varieties adapted to Florida,
we can supply that market window. The
product going to the supermarket shelf is
better and has higher value."
Ferguson said freezes in the 1980s and
competition from other production areas
reduced Florida peach acreage, which
peaked at about 2,000 acres in the 1960s,
primarily in Panhandle counties. A recent
informal survey by Ferguson showed
orchards more scattered today, but only
about 400 total acres planted in peaches,
nectarines and plums. The researchers see
the potential for peaches to move south,
spreading to about 10,000 acres eventu-
ally, especially with some canker-weary cit-
rus growers showing an interest in peaches.
Research and extension faculty have
planted demonstration plots of subtropical
peaches at UF research centers in Quincy,
Live Oak, Hastings, Citra, Winter Haven,
Immokalee and Fort Pierce to show
how the crop can be grown in the state's
different agricultural zones. Although
peaches would not be a high-volume crop,
Chaparro said, manipulating the growth
cycle to get ripe peaches during the right
market window could make it a high-
value, high-quality crop.
The rest of the world already is famil-
iar with Florida peaches, Chaparro said.
Flordaprince and other varieties developed
for Florida are not household names here,
but they are important cultivars in low-
chill production areas of Morocco, Sicily,
Egypt, Australia, India and South Africa.
Licenses on past varieties provide key
funding for further research.
"In April or May, if you eat a peach
in Europe, or pretty much worldwide, it's
a Florida variety," Chaparro said. "Our
biggest clients for our germplasm are
overseas, and they generate the income
for the breeding program. UF trains stu-
dents from all over the world, and our
varieties are grown in subtropical climates
worldwide. We're providing a worldwide
Even with the advances of science, the
work can be time-consuming. Thousands
of seedlings are planted, then plowed
under, as trials continue. Chaparro says
it's common for only one tree in 200 seed-
lings to be worth saving for the genetic
traits it might pass on. Molecular markers
are being developed to assist in the selec-
"Wayne Sherman made a new indus-
try here, building on work by Ralph
Sharp, and now UF is one of the top three
programs in peaches," Chaparro said.
"When you think peaches, you wouldn't
think Florida, but it's fulfilling to see the
impact of UF varieties grown in other
"IF YOU BOUGHT
THIS PEACH IN A
SUPERMARKET, YOU'D GO
BACK AND BUY A COUPLE
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
BLACK MOLDINTHE ENVIRON M ENT
previous studies into toxic black mold that colonizes moist areas
inside a home have been limited to the indoors. But mold can
travel widely in the air before taking up residence indoors,
so University of Florida mycologist James Kimbrough and doctoral
researcher Sarah Clark Selke decided to take a new approach and look
for the mold outdoors.
They found what they were looking for.
A few dozen fungi form a black mold growth, but one, Stachybotrys
chartarum, produces some of the most potent mycotoxins known to sci
ence, and it is all around us. Selke designed a two-year ecological study
to find out the range of habitats that might support the fungus in an
effort to determine how much is out there and what times of year it is
"You see lots of reports of people finding S. chartarum, but all the
studies were done on indoor samples," Selke said. "This is the first out-
door sampling, the first environmental study of this nature."
S. chartarum likes cellulose, common in most building materials, and
moisture, all too common in hurricane-battered Florida homes. So Selke
"THERE ARE 90,000
SPECIES OF FUNGI
DESCRIBED, BUT WE
THINK THERE MAY BE 1.5
MILLION OUT THERE."
Dr. James Kimbrough and graduate student
Sarah Clark Selke examine a culture plate of
molds isolated with an Aerotech Spore Sampler.
22 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
cut drywall into 4-by-8-inch strips and
placed the strips upright in plastic contain-
ers of water as a kind of bait. She chose
four North Central Florida habitats, plac-
ing sampling strips in a citrus grove, a pine
grove, a weedy lakeshore and a mature
As she recovered the strips, she tested
for S. chartarum. Her preliminary results
show that the black mold is present at de-
tectable levels from May to December in
all four habitats, although not in all habi-
tats in the same month.
"It's out there, but it's not out there as
much as we thought it was," Selke said.
Environmental companies find it
difficult to isolate S. chartarum from
the indoor air even though they see con-
taminated surfaces because it grows slowly
on media when other fungi are present.
The key to better work in the laboratory,
Kimbrough said, is identifying media that
foster the growth of S. chartarum, but slow
the growth of other common fungi, so
that S. chartarum can be isolated and stud-
ied. In the meantime, trapping the organ-
ism in the wild, as in Selke's experiment, is
a good alternative.
"With the proper medium, we could
sample more widely," Kimbrough said.
The increase in hurricanes in Florida
in recent years has fed public concern
about black mold because storm-dam-
aged homes are a prime target. The mold
can proliferate in an environment with
moisture and cellulose-drywall, for in-
stance-and enjoys the same temperatures
people enjoy, Kimbrough said. In severe
cases, homes can become uninhabitable,
and toxic black mold can cause scratchy
throats, watery eyes, rashes, wheezing and
other respiratory problems often associated
with sick building syndrome.
But not every sample of this black
mold is toxic, so Selke next wants to look
at the DNA of samples to see if there are
patterns in the distribution of toxic and
non-toxic S. chartarum. Distinguishing
between the two would require molecular
While someone who finds black mold
should limit their exposure and take care
in cleaning it up, not all cases of mold are
cause for alarm.
"We live in an ocean of spores," said
Selke, and not all are harmful. "When you
see black mold in the shower, that's not
Fear of black mold, however, can
make consumers prey to scam artists,
"Probably one of the biggest scams is
fly-by-night companies that find any kind
of black mold," Kimbrough said. "People
get alarmed and these companies charge
exorbitant prices to clean it up."
Kimbrough points out that mold
spores are in a home all the time, and only
grow to unmanageable proportions when
they are provided the right conditions,
making prevention the best way to avoid a
The kingdom of fungi is more than
460 million years old, so these organ-
isms must be doing something right,
Kimbrough said. Mycologists, he said,
have their work cut out for them.
"There are 90,000 species of fungi de-
scribed," Kimbrough said, "but we think
there may be 1.5 million out there." i;t'
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
TEAM ANALYZES DATA
TO ANSWER IMPORTANT NATURAL RESOURCES QUESTIONS
University of Florida statisticians Linda Young and Mary
Christman can tell you that sometimes the most important
answer to a question is "I don't know."
The two researchers were asked in 2006 to analyze a huge database
of information on red tide, a toxic algal bloom that frequently appears
along Florida's Gulf Coast. At first glance, the database-64,053 records
collected by 78 agencies dating back to 1953-looked like a treasure
"The database looks huge and wonderful, but the data were not col-
lected in a manner that allows us to answer the questions we were asked
to answer," Christman said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Service asked Christman and Young
to evaluate the data with three questions in mind: is red tide increasing
in frequency, is it increasing in severity, and is it possible to detect any
patterns in its behavior?
"IN LEARNING WHICH
QUESTIONS WE COULD
NOT ANSWER, WE
QUESTIONS NEEDED TO
Left to right: Drs. Linda Young and Mary
Christman, Department of Statistics
4 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
"While the database can be used to
answer other questions scientists might
ask, it can't answer those three questions,"
"The data are useful, but not to answer
the questions being posed," Young said.
"These data don't support whether red
tide is increasing or decreasing."
Red tide is a natural phenomenon that
has been observed in Florida since the
1840s. It is caused by higher than normal
concentrations of Karenia brevis, a micro-
scopic algae that can quickly grow into
dense, reddish patches. K brevis produces
toxins that can harm or kill fish, birds and
marine mammals. Near shore, it becomes
airborne in sea spray and can cause respira-
tory problems in humans.
When red tide becomes concentrated
enough, the state closes shellfish beds.
And it hurts tourism by making a day at
the beach unpleasant or even unhealthy.
However, reports that red tide is worse
than ever have caused unwarranted hys-
teria. Christman said coastal population
growth may be one factor in the percep-
tion that red tide is worse because "more
people see it, but more people are there to
For the Fish and Wildlife Service to
collect data from 78 agencies dating back
to 1953 was a monumental undertaking,
Young said. But once the data were col-
lected, the issues in analyzing the records
quickly became apparent.
Most samples were collected after a
report of red tide, guaranteeing red tide
would be found, rather than through a
regular monitoring program, which might
or might not find red tide in each sample.
That left no way to determine whether red
tide was more or less severe over time, or
even always present.
Year to year, there were differences,
too, with almost no records to analyze
from 1960, but plenty to analyze from
2000. Agency to agency, sampling meth-
ods differed. Hillsborough County, for
example, collected samples monthly at
the same locations since 1987, providing
a good database for Tampa Bay. But com-
paring that database to another, with sam-
ples collected more haphazardly, would be
an apples-to-oranges comparison.
"Each agency kind of did its own
thing, and most of the time they collected
samples when they already knew it was
there, and they went out to see how bad it
was," Christman said. "So monitoring was
prompted by the event rather than done
regularly. Some of the monitoring was vol-
untary, such as when a research ship head-
ing out would volunteer to bring back a
sample. And the more you sample for it,
the more you see.
"The real question-is it changing?-
is something we can't answer now,"
"In learning which questions we could
not answer, we learned which questions
needed to be asked," Christman said. In
the next phase of their research, Young
and Christman will collaborate with scien-
tists from the Fish and Wildlife Service to
come up with a statistical model to allow
for consistent sampling that will be suit-
able for analysis.
"Funding is a big issue. A program to
answer these questions needs to be done
over an extended area over a long time,
and it can't be subject to funding vaga-
ries," Young said. "Until we understand
it, there's no hope of controlling it, but
we have no foundation for answering the
questions asked." -;'1
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
No FISHING, No SWI M M ING
On vacation with her family last year in the Blue Ridge
Mountains, Nancy Denslow was struck by a sign posted
beside a beautiful, pristine-looking lake: NO FISHING,
Denslow, a University of Florida biochemist, was all too familiar
with the sign's warnings about rashes, autoimmune disorders, even can-
cer. She and colleague David Barber at UF's Center for Environmental
and Human Toxicology in the College of Veterinary Medicine are re-
searching how chemicals in the environment interact with the endocrine
system. Many lakes in Florida also are off-limits to fishermen and swim-
mers, and studying the inhabitants of those lakes-the fish-provides
insight into how contamination might affect other animals, including
"We're all concerned about the chemicals in our environment and
how they might be affecting us," Denslow said. "We wonder, 'Was I ex-
posed to -..ni.,rl-in; There's reason to be concerned."
In studying fish, Barber and Denslow have found that some chemi-
cals disrupt the hormones offish, mimicking either estrogen or
"FISH ARE VERTEBRATES,
SO IF A FISH IS AFFECTED,
HUMANS COULD BE
AFFECTED AS WELL...
Drs. Nancy Denslow and David Barber examine
a largemouth bass in the aquatic toxicology facil-
ity at the University of Florida.
6 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
testosterone. These chemicals can mas-
culinize a female fish or feminize a male
fish, and that disrupts reproduction.
Disrupting reproduction, in turn, can
destabilize the populations of species of
fish, causing economic and environmental
"Reproduction is tightly regulated, re-
quiring inputs of steroids and hormones at
exactly the right time," said Barber, a toxi-
cologist. "But chemicals in the environ-
ment can change the ability of hormones
to do their jobs."
Normal concentrations of hormones
are low, so it doesn't take much to disrupt
them. Chemicals commonly found in de-
tergents, pesticides, sewage and industrial
wastewater can disrupt the sex hormones
of animals that live in the water. In their
research, Barber and Denslow have found
that an egg yolk protein produced by
female fish is showing up in male fish,
indicating that the male fish have been
feminized by exposure to a chemical.
"Fish are vertebrates, so if a fish is af-
fected, humans could be affected as well,"
Denslow said. "It's important to under-
stand the mechanism by which these com-
pounds affect reproduction."
Barber and Denslow are careful to say
that their research pertains only to fish,
who spend their entire lives in the water
and are therefore more susceptible to
aquatic contamination. The "gender-bend-
ing" phenomenon, however, is not limited
to fish and has been identified in other
species like alligators, oysters, clams and
The researchers have collected data
at two Florida lakes, one relatively clean
and one that has been contaminated by
agricultural runoff. In the uncontami-
nated lake, the fish exhibit normal char-
acteristics. But in the contaminated lake,
feminized male fish and masculinized
female fish have been found in alarming
"Normally plasma steroid levels of
males and females would be different, but
on these contamination sites, they're not,"
A contaminated male fish will mate
with a clean female, previous research has
shown. However, in competition with a
clean male, the estrogenized male will not
compete for the female fish. Super males
also have turned up, and while they may
compete to mate with the female, they
may not produce as many offspring.
In the laboratory, Barber and Denslow
have replicated the conditions in the lakes,
using the same fish species (largemouth
bass) and same contaminants (organochlo-
rine pesticides), to scrutinize the effects of
the chemicals. The laboratory work has
shown that the chemicals ultimately cause
reproduction to cease.
Florida also is wrestling with how to
restore ecosystems that have been con-
taminated. Lakes with a long history of
pesticide runoff could still contain DDT, a
now-banned organochlorine that degrades
so slowly that for all effective purposes it
doesn't degrade. That pesticide already has
been shown to interfere with hormones
and reduce the number of eggs a female
fish can lay, and some sites the state has
tried to restore for wetlands have experi-
enced bird die-offs. Barber and Denslow
are working with state agencies in figuring
out how to restore the contamination sites
without harming fish and birds.
Their research is funded by the
Superfund Basic Research Program and
the Environmental Protection Agency,
and as it progresses, Barber and Denslow
hope to come up with information that
can be used by those agencies for risk as-
sessment. The presence of a contaminant,
for example, may not represent a risk if
the contaminant is not bioavailable. For
contaminants that are bioavailable, the re-
searchers hope to come up with guidelines
for how much is safe and how much is
hazardous. Using gene arrays, it also might
be possible to develop a DNA fingerprint
that would tell which pollutant is causing
a problem and where it is coming from.
"For years, we only worried about a
fish kill," Barber said. "Now we realize
that a lot of things we do have unintended
consequences. You don't see a lot of dead
fish, but in some places the fish are still
"Hormones control so much, from the
physical to the behavioral," Barber said,
"and if you change the balance of hor-
mones, that changes a lot of things." i;.t
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
THE BEACH ECOSYSTEM PROTECTS
BOTH BEACH MICE AND PEOPLE
hat's good for the tiny beach mouse is good for human
beach dwellers and the beach landscape as a whole, two
University of Florida researchers are finding.
The pale mice, with big ears and dark eyes, live only in dune habitat,
so they are good barometers of how healthy the beach landscape is, said
Deborah Miller, a plant ecologist at UF's West Florida Research and
Education Center in Milton.
But declines in populations of beach mice-one subspecies is extinct
and only one is not listed as threatened or endangered-could be signal-
ing a decline of the coastal ecosystem, said Lyn Branch, a wildlife ecolo-
gist in Gainesville.
"The issue is protecting the whole ecosystem, but we don't have an
endangered ecosystem act, we have an endangered species act, and we
can use it to protect the ecosystem," Branch said. "If we protect the
habitat for the beach mice, we protect the infrastructure behind it for
people. Large dunes are the best habitat for beach mice and large dunes
provide the greatest protection from storm surge for human structures.
"THE ISSUE IS
BUT WE DON'T HAVE
28 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
Research into restoration of dunes has
advanced in the years since Hurricane
Opal hit the Panhandle in 1995, flatten-
ing established dunes that stood 10 to 30
feet tall, Miller said. In Opal's aftermath,
Miller and her colleagues began to study
wood fences-in all shapes, sizes and con-
figurations-as tools for sand accumula-
tion. Researchers also studied sea oats and
other vegetation to see which plants best
stabilized the sand while providing beach
mice with sources of food and cover.
Researchers had mapped the dunes
and restoration work in the years since
Opal's landfall, so they were ready to assess
the effectiveness of various dune configu-
rations as they surveyed the damage nearly
10 years later when Hurricane Ivan arrived
Santa Rosa Island's foredunes, those
closest to the ocean, had only rebuilt to a
height of three to six feet in some areas-
not at all in others-and Ivan wiped out
most of these dunes, Miller said. During
subsequent storms, researchers noted a sig-
nificant increase in inland erosion, with-
out the foredunes to provide protection.
"After Ivan, we looked at what sur-
vived," Miller said. "What we found was
that taller and wider dunes-measuring
from the Gulf inland-did better. Even
if we compared dunes that were the same
size in total area, the wider, taller ones did
Researchers also found that inland, or
secondary, dunes that were not protected
by foredunes sustained a lot of damage,
pointing out the value of viewing the eco-
system as a whole.
"The foredunes and the secondary
dunes behave together," Miller said. "The
system develops better if the dunes de-
People, however, can be as much of
a threat to the beach landscape and the
beach mice as storms. More than three-
quarters of the state's population lives in
coastal counties, and coastal development
plays a large role in disruption of the
beach landscape by blocking sand move-
ment that builds beaches and dunes and
by fragmenting the dune systems.
For the nocturnal beach mice, learning
to live in the new environment is difficult,
"There are two problems with co-ex-
istence," Branch said. "People bring with
them cats as introduced predators, and
lighting, which exposes the beach mice to
predators. The combination of lights and
cats is not good."
Beach mice use the frontal dunes
and scrub dunes and are dependent on
linked habitats that often are no longer
linked. Prime habitat for beach mice is
the frontal dunes but they must be able to
move to the scrub dunes when hurricanes
remove the frontal dunes. Development
can isolate mice in small pockets, making
them more vulnerable to habitat loss from
As long as Florida restores its beaches
and dunes-state and federal agencies
spent about $200 million on such projects
in 2005 alone-the state has an opportu-
nity to do so in a fashion that supports the
remaining beach mice, which are unique
to Florida. The mixed success ofrestora-
tion thus far points to a need for more re-
search, Miller said.
"We need better information to use
in restoration, and then we'll see better
results," Miller said.
Miller and her colleagues are looking
at which plants to use, where and when
to plant them and how tall the foredunes
need to be before replanting woody plants
in the scrub dunes. "We want to know
how to replace this system," Miller said.
"How to do that and meet with success.
Historically, beaches formed and
reformed as sand shifted from place to
place. However, the natural cycle of beach
rebuilding has been disrupted, Branch and
Miller point out, and now 38 percent of
Florida's 825 miles of sandy beaches are in
a state of critical erosion. The beach itself
could be endangered.
"These habitats are very much threat-
ened," Branch said, "both for the mice
and as an ecosystem, which is of great
economic and cultural importance to
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
LIVING WITH CITRUS CANKER
T he era of citrus canker eradication in Florida drew to a close
in 2006. After spending millions of dollars and destroying
millions of trees, the state finally threw up its hands in defeat.
But the failed canker eradication program has given way to a canker
control program that may be one of Florida agriculture's major suc-
cesses, two University of Florida citrus researchers say.
While it may not be possible to eradicate canker, the researchers say
it is quite possible to adapt to canker and thrive.
Scientists at UF's Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake
Alfred have been preparing for the possibility of having to live with can-
ker for years. Soil microbiologist Jim Graham has been involved both in
canker eradication efforts in Florida and in canker control research in
South America for more than 20 years. As Argentina and Brazil have re-
fined their methods for coping with canker, Graham and his colleagues
have been taking note of the practices that have succeeded, and they are
ready to pass that information on to Florida growers. This educational
program has reached hundreds of growers and Graham is even taking
CANKER HAD SPREAD
TOO FAR AND WIDE TO
Dr. Jim Graham, Soil Microbiologist, counts
bacterial colonies on an isolation plate from
infected citrus seedlings.
30 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
groups to South America to see canker
control in action.
"Because of our experience in South
America, we were prepared for this,"
Graham said. "In Argentina, they have
highly regimented production and pack-
inghouse practices to produce clean, as-
Citrus canker is a bacterial disease that
causes premature leaf and fruit drop and
unsightly lesions on fruit. The disease re-
duces the quality and yield of fruit. People
can readily spread the bacterial pathogen
on hands, clothes or agricultural equip-
ment. The bacterium also travels with
wind-driven rain, which drives the patho-
gen into natural openings and wounds on
fruit and leaves, causing infection.
Canker was first discovered in Florida
around 1912, probably brought in on
imported seedlings from Japan. It was
eradicated in 1933. In 1986, it reappeared
and again was eradicated. In 1997, the
state entered its last phase of eradication,
removing or cutting back 1.56 million
commercial trees and 600,000 dooryard
Common thunderstorms spread can-
ker, so the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005
made eradication a losing battle.
"After Hurricane Wilma, citrus canker
had spread too far and wide to eradicate
any longer," Graham said. "It no longer
made sense. The cost of losing more trees
to eradication was just too great."
Graham said eradication of mature
trees depleted groves, but eradication of
infected and exposed nursery trees left
growers without the stock needed to re-
plenish. Almost overnight, 62 percent of
nursery trees were destroyed. Although
one recommendation to growers is to
replant with varieties that have more re-
sistance to canker, these trees are not yet
widely available in nurseries.
Management methods come with
costs. Copper sprays control canker, but
a grower needs to determine how many
times he can spray and still make a profit.
Overspraying also risks copper damage
to the fruit and accelerates copper ac-
cumulation in the soil. Thanks to their
experience in South America, Graham and
his colleagues have been able to provide
recommendations that tailor copper spray
programs according to the variety's sus-
ceptibility to canker to minimize environ-
mental and economic costs.
Windbreaks offer another solution,
providing a barrier to wind-blown canker,
although growers give up citrus-producing
land and usually need to wait five years
for the windbreaks to grow high enough.
Other recommendations include decon-
taminating workers and equipment as they
move from infected areas to non-infected
areas, and growing nursery trees in green-
houses that shield them from exposure to
"Argentina manages so well using these
methods that the presence of canker there
is difficult to detect," Graham said. "What
works in South America should work in
In the future, citrus canker manage-
ment will require coming up with more
resistant varieties, both through conven-
tional breeding and genetic engineering,
said Bill Dawson, the J. R. and Addie
S. Graves Endowed Chair in Citrus
"In the long term, we will need to
develop plants that won't respond to the
disease," Dawson said. "We will need to
locate or breed better varieties.
The transition from canker eradication
to canker control will greatly change the
industry, the researchers said, but it shows
the strength of UF's long-term commit-
ment to citrus research. '1'
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
As a child in a military family, Chelsea Smartt spent four years
in Africa. Toward the end of her father's tour of duty, Smartt's
14-year-old brother contracted malaria from a mosquito bite.
The experience made a big impression on Smartt, then 9, and today the
University of Florida molecular biologist's research program revolves
"I like mosquitoes, actually," said Smartt.
She came to the right place. Smartt arrived two years ago at UF's
Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. The laboratory,
which specializes in research on biting insects, is perched on the edge
of mosquito paradise, 38 acres of hammock and marsh buzzing with
"Most of the professors here have a mosquito biology background,
and there's a concentration of knowledge on vectors of disease and trans-
mission. We can ask questions and bounce ideas off each other," Smartt
said. "It's also novel to have a lab combined with mosquito ecology. You
can get a better understanding of what the mosquito is doing in the
Because of their personal experience with malaria, Smartt's family
appreciate the goal of her research: to prevent transmission of mosquito-
borne pathogens by disrupting how mosquitoes use their blood meals.
In order to infect the mosquito host, a pathogen must pass through
the mosquito's gut, Smartt said. So research into how the mosquito gut
processes blood and pathogens is important in coming up with ways to
control mosquito-borne diseases.
Dr. Chelsea Smartt adding genetic material to
an agarose gel. This solid support can be used
to see genetic differences between mosquitos
infected with a pathogen and those that are not
"It's like a person taking a food meal in
the stomach. Different proteins are turned
on to digest and break down the food to
use it," Smartt said. "In mosquitoes, pro-
teins are turned on after the blood comes
in. So, if we can tease out the actual pro-
teins, we can use them to inhibit parasite
transmission in diseases like West Nile. We
need to find one or more proteins we can
Smartt is working with the Culex
nigripalpus mosquito, one of the main spe-
cies that transmits the West Nile virus. By
discovering which genes turn on and off
after a blood meal, she hopes to isolate a
gene that can be manipulated and use it to
disrupt the digestion of the blood meal or
interfere with development of the parasite
in the gut. Disrupting digestion would
keep the female from laying eggs, leading
to control of the mosquito population,
and interfering with the parasite would
prevent its transmission to a person or
Smartt also is looking into factors that
allow some mosquito species to transmit
disease while others cannot. The Culex
nigripalpus mosquito, for instance, is es-
pecially good at transmitting West Nile
"There are a lot of mosquitoes in the
world but not all are able to transmit a
parasite," Smartt said. "What makes one
able to do it and not another?"
If her research identifies a promising
protein, Smartt could either leave it out or
modify it to determine whether it in fact
plays a role in disrupting transmission of
"More than likely, it is not one protein,
but a pathway, using two or three pro-
teins," Smartt said.
While the release of mosquitoes
genetically engineered without the pro-
teins-and without the ability to transmit
disease-would be in the distant future,
a short-term possibility could be develop-
ment of an insecticide that interferes with
the blood meal.
Working with the Culex nigripalpus
means treading new ground, something
Smartt especially likes about her research.
"Most researchers haven't worked with
Culex nigripalpus, so it is uncharacter-
ized at the molecular level," Smartt said.
"Any information on its genes is novel.
Anything furthers the field." 'i
"IF WE CAN TEASE OUT
THE ACTUAL PROTEINS,
WE CAN USE THEM
TO INHIBIT PARASITE
DISEASES LIKE WEST
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
T7 11110 -EIII
At first glance, the University of Florida might not appear to
have much of a stake in science in Uzbekistan.
ABut as people travel around the world in greater numbers
these days, so do pathogens, making global scientific collaboration ever
more important, said UF researcher Christopher Mores.
Mores, a scientist at UF's Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory
(FMEL) in Vero Beach, is part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction
program, created by Congress following the fall of the Soviet Union to
keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of rogue states and
terrorists. In Uzbekistan, he is helping scientists modernize a Cold War-
era biological research facility and shift its focus from weapons of mass
destruction to peaceful science to protect people from pathogens. After
his first visit in 2004, he knew he had his work cut out for him.
"The personnel were impressive but the state of the lab was quite
bad," Mores said. "After the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lot of ma-
terials and equipment moved back to Russia, so there was a dearth of
equipment, to put it mildly. Yet they were still doing good, classic work.
Today, it's a fully functional facility, much safer, with a full molecular
lab and western equipment. They have incredible capabilities now. The
place is always buzzing, and they're producing a fantastic amount of data
The turnabout didn't happen overnight. Mores has visited
Uzbekistan a half dozen times and navigated the regulations of two
governments. He also has helped the scientists update their training and
Dr. Christopher Mores (top) examines tissue cul-
tures for viral pathogenesis, while Dr. Stephanie
Richards (bottom)dissects experimentally in-
fected arthropods for further testing.
techniques, both in Uzbekistan and in vis-
its by the Uzbek scientists to the FMEL.
Today, the Institute of Virology functions
as a national-level facility, much like the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The work of the lab focuses on
arthropod-borne viruses, so scientists col-
lect ticks and mosquitoes for virus testing,
and test human and animal blood for the
presence of antibodies. The work has led
to joint research by UF and Uzbek scien-
tists, along with journal publications and
The formerly Soviet scientists whole-
heartedly embraced the shift in their work,
"The thing to realize is that in the
Soviet Union, biological weapons was
THE place to work. They did the work
because of the native science, the interest
in what's out there, not from a nefarious
desire. They're scientists, just like us. Now
they can use their science to protect the
health of the people of Uzbekistan."
Mores said his role in detecting any
illicit use of pathogens first requires un-
derstanding how those pathogens occur
naturally. That requires a knowledge of
patterns of outbreaks, what strains of vi-
ruses look like around the world and when
they occur. Uzbekistan has a number of
arboviruses known to cause diseases in hu-
mans and animals, among them Crimean
Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, which appears
in small outbreaks throughout the year
that need to be controlled before they
become full-blown. The tick-borne disease
has a 30 percent mortality rate and ap-
pears in a large swath from West Africa to
The work benefits not only the people
of Uzbekistan and nearby Central Asian
countries, but the people of the United
States as well.
"In Florida, we have so many invasive
plants and animals, why shouldn't we be
concerned about invasive pathogens as
well? With major seaports and airports
and a large immigrant population, the list
is exhaustive of things that could find root
in Florida," Mores said. "There is always
something on the horizon we need to be
on the lookout for."
Mores said international collaboration
broadens the expertise that all scientists
can draw on in identifying and control-
ling pathogens. Hundreds of arboviruses
are known, but hundreds more likely have
not been detected yet. The field is full of
questions that need to be answered, but
not enough researchers to give each virus
"Being involved in international re-
search helps us prepare for the uninvited
guests to Florida," Mores said. "It's not
easy working half a world away, but the re-
wards are easy to see. It's good science." 4'i
"THERE IS ALWAYS
SOMETHING ON THE
HORIZON WE NEED TO BE
ON THE LOOKOUT FOR."
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR
FARMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Since the early 1990s, farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area
(EAA) have been trying to balance the needs of their crops with
the needs of the fragile Everglades ecosystem downstream.
Using best management practices, or BMPs, developed specifi-
cally for the area, their successes have been stunning, says University
of Florida soil scientist Samira Daroub. By law, they were required to
reduce phosphorus runoff by 25 percent, but they are averaging reduc-
tions more than twice that level. Some years, phosphorus reductions
have reached 70 percent.
But varying results from farm to farm and year to year keep farm-
ers and Daroub and her colleagues at the Everglades Research and
Education Center asking questions.
"We have 100 percent of the farmers using BMPs," Daroub said. "So
why do some farms do better than others, when all of them are imple-
menting similar practices?"
"We now have a database of 10 years of field research we can look at
to see what factors affect BMPs in the area."
"... OUR FOCUS IS ON
HELPING THE FARMERS
IMPLEMENT THE BMPS
WIDELY AND CORRECTLY.
WE WANT TO GIVE
THE GROWERS BETTER
ANSWERS ON WHAT
Right to Left: Dr. Samira Daroub sampling soils
from the EAA with the help of exchange student
Lucia Orantes-Cabrera and Dr. Orlando Diaz,
Research Associate at Everglades Research and
36 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
The Everglades Agricultural Area
(EAA) borders the southern shore of Lake
Okeechobee and is home to sugarcane,
sod, rice and vegetable farms. Historically,
agricultural runoff from the farms drained
into the fragile Everglades ecosystem.
One of the problems was phosphorus,
which is beneficial as a nutrient for crops,
but disruptive to native plants in pristine
From her post at the Belle Glade re-
search center on the edge of the Everglades
Agricultural Area, Daroub studies ways to
manage agricultural phosphorus levels and
Much of Daroub's research is con-
ducted on-site at farms, giving her a
real-world view of how to apply the sci-
ence. After heavy rains, water is generally
pumped off farms and into South Florida
Water Management District canals.
Managing the water flow in farm canals
is one way she has identified for reducing
phosphorus runoff. For example, if water
in a canal is moving at a high speed, more
of the sediment on the canal bottom will
be suspended and transported with the
water. The suspended sediment-and the
phosphorus embedded in it-is then car-
ried out of the area and will contribute to
the EAA basin phosphorus load.
Reducing the speed at which the water
is pumped helps reduce the erosion of the
canal sediments. Daroub also has found
that keeping a minimum water level in the
agricultural canals helps because deeper
water moves more slowly.
Routine cleaning of canals also reduces
phosphorus transport out of the EAA,
Daroub said. During the dry season,
some farmers remove sediments from
canal bottoms and spread the sediments
on fields, allowing the phosphorus in the
sediments to act as a fertilizer. The main
drawback, she said, is the expense of such
Another beneficial, but expensive,
method of managing phosphorus levels is
controlling the growth of floating aquatic
weeds in the canals, because the plants
soak up phosphorus and move with the
drainage water downstream into the natu-
In addition to research, Daroub also is
involved in outreach to growers, in work-
shops and in one-on-one BMP consulta-
tions on the farms. Although most farmers
started using BMPs because of the legal
requirement, many now come up with
their own ideas to run by her.
"They've incorporated BMPs into
everyday farming practices, and they like
to be updated," Daroub said. "They know
the science, they're very well-educated, so
they come to us with questions, and we
work together to answer them."
The growers also contribute to re-
search via the Everglades Agricultural
Area Environmental Protection District,
in which they tax themselves to pay for
environmental research in the area. The
Florida Department of Environmental
Protection and the South Florida Water
Management District also have funded the
research, which has attracted $3 million in
grants in the last six years.
Fine-tuning the BMPs is a process,
and Daroub said there is always room for
"Nowadays, our focus is on helping
the farmers implement the BMPs widely
and correctly," Daroub said. "A lot of
things work, but maybe they could work
better. We want to give the growers better
answers on what works, what doesn't and
how to implement this research on farms
in the Everglades Agricultural Area." i'ts
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
VARIETIES OF POTHOS
Many gardeners know the popular golden pothos as the
houseplant you just can't kill, no matter how brown your
But researchers know it as a stubborn laboratory subject that resists
efforts to hybridize it, no matter how sophisticated your science.
University of Florida plant geneticist R.J. Henny and plant physiolo-
gist Jianjun Chen, however, are breaking down the pothos' resistance to
change in a project that promises to produce the first new pothos variety
"The pothos is very popular worldwide because it is so easy to grow,
said Chen, who works with Henny at UF's Mid-Florida Research and
Education Center in Apopka. "It's one of the top 10 foliage plants
worldwide, but it never flowers in nature so we can't hybridize it."
Homeowners who grow the plant simply by snipping off a stem and
sticking it in water or potting media might wonder what the problem
is. But it is precisely that means of cultivation, through cuttings, that
makes pothos seemingly unchangeable.
"IT'S MORE THAN JUST
APPEARANCE. IT HAS TO
GROW WELL AND BE
Left to right: Drs. Jake Henny and Jianjun Chen
examine a pothos plant regenerated from
38 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
Propagating a plant with cuttings
means that the next generation shares the
same genetic material as the last genera-
tion, producing little change over time.
Plants that are more easily changed are
propagated with flowers and seeds through
sexual reproduction, which makes genetic
variety more likely. Since the pothos does
not naturally produce flowers or seeds,
Henny and Chen needed to find a way to
alter pothos asexually.
So resistant is the pothos to change,
that while many other plants have 50 to
60 cultivars, or varieties, the pothos only
has three, and they have been on the mar-
ket for several decades.
That presented a challenge to Chen
and Henny. In a project that started three
years ago, they have developed a method
to propagate pothos in tissue culture. To
do this they take small leaf sections, about
1 square centimeter, put the pieces onto a
growth medium and induce embryo-like
structures. The embryonic structures are
susceptible to manipulation and increase
the possibility of mutations, called
somaclonal variation. Several mutants have
been identified, which can lead to poten-
tial new cultivars.
And in variety, there is money to be
Foliage plants, those grown for their
leaves rather than their flowers or fruit,
are one of the most rapidly growing sec-
tors of U.S. agriculture, Henny and Chen
said. The wholesale value of foliage plants
in the United States increased from $13
million in 1949 to $721 million in 2005.
Florida leads the nation, accounting for
more than 55 percent of the national
wholesale value of foliage plants since the
1960s. One reason is that Florida foliage
growers keep consumers interested by con-
tinually bringing new varieties to market.
"With ornamentals, the question is,
what's new?" Henny said. "But it has to be
better also. It's more than just appearance.
It has to grow well and be reliable. The
Tissue culture also can provide nursery
owners with a way to revitalize their stock
with clean, disease-free plant material.
Currently, pothos cuttings are imported
from Central and South America, which
opens up the potential for pathogens to
move into the United States along with
the plants, Chen said. Although nursery
owners could use their own cuttings, do-
ing so requires too much greenhouse space
Tissue culture is not the only tool the
researchers have tried in their efforts to
change pothos. Henny has used irradia-
tion, which has resulted in two plants with
shorter vines and smaller leaves. He also
has tried getting the pothos to produce
flowers and seeds, something it doesn't
"It's extremely difficult to induce flow-
ering; there are all kinds of problems, and
it will never be routine procedure," Henny
The researchers, however, have one
unique hybrid that is currently being
propagated for further testing prior to
The somatic embryogenesis techniques
the researchers are using may have future
applications, Chen said, perhaps in bio-
reactors that produce millions of plants
quickly. Somatic embryogenesis also may
be useful in transgenic plant production
methods that allow for genetic material
from one plant to be inserted into another
For now, though, using it to change
the stubborn pothos may be revolutionary
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
University of Florida entomologist Rudolf Scheffrahn was
going about his work at the Fort Lauderdale Research and
Education Center when a call came in. A pest control opera-
tor treating a home had come across an insect that looked like an ant
but ate wood, and he was puzzled.
"He had gone to a house in Dania Beach, and he said I needed to
come out and take a look. When I got to the house, it was infested
by a termite I'd seen many times on survey and collection trips to the
Caribbean and South American," Scheffrahn said, recalling his 2001
visit to the home.
"But I was shocked to see it in Florida."
The pest was a tropical tree termite, and it had Scheffrahn worried.
The termite was found far beyond the confines of the house and yard
the pest control operator had inspected, in an area of about 40 acres,
and Scheffrahn knew it could munch its way to Orlando and Tampa
before colder temperatures in North Florida stopped it.
Convincing state authorities of the danger was another thing. If the
pest had been gnawing on a major state crop, like citrus, there would
have been millions of dollars and a league of people to help, Scheffrahn
said. But it was an urban, structural pest, and those usually are left to
homeowners to control.
Scheffrahn and UF entomologists Brain Cabrera and Bill Kern
enlisted the help of Steve Dwinell, of the Division of Agricultural
Left to right: Drs. Bill Kern and Rudi Scheffrahn
inspect a nest of the invasive arboreal termite,
Nasutitermes corniger, collected in Dania Beach, FL.
Environmental Services at the state
Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services. Dwinell understood the urgency
of the problem, and was instrumental in
forming an emergency task force.
The UF researchers discovered that
two common pesticides would work on
the tree termite, and Dwinell helped them
get special use permits to use them on
the new pest. One pesticide, for example,
was approved only for use in structures,
but the arboreal termite had infested tree
canopies throughout the area. By 2003,
the team was ready to start treatment.
"Originally, there were hundreds
of colonies, and millions of insects can
be in one colony, so we estimated there
were hundreds of millions of termites,"
Scheffrahn said. "It was a fire that was
The team entered a cycle of surveying,
locating infestations and treating them,
then repeating the cycle again six months
later. In December 2006, only three young
colonies, not yet old enough to reproduce
and multiply, remained. Those colonies
were treated, and Scheffrahn anticipates
that June's inspection will reveal no
"This is the first example of a social
insect successfully eradicated in the United
States and one of the first in the world,"
Scheffrahn said. "At least in the United
States, this is unprecedented."
Scheffrahn said the insect likely
hitched a ride to Florida on a boat that
had traveled through the Caribbean. The
termites have been found in the hulls of
boats and in shipping containers. If a boat
carrying the insects docked during flight
season the insects-attracted to the city
lights-would have flown toward land,
Once established, the termites began to
build nests on the ground, in trees and in
structures. In late 2005, Hurricane Wilma
assisted the eradication team by clearing
out deadwood, making it easier to spot
treetop nests. On structures, an infestation
is easy to spot because the termites leave
dark tubes as they tunnel up the sides of
Scheffrahn said he is particularly proud
of what the scientists, regulators and pest
control operators accomplished on a shoe-
string. With an investment of $50,000,
they eradicated a pest that could have
spread and ultimately caused more than
$100 million in damage per year.
"When we get a report of a pest,
we need to always take it seriously,"
The team approach to eradicating
the tree termite has led to a better rap-
port with regulatory agencies, which now
have a better understanding of the costs
associated with non-agricultural pests,
Scheffrahn said. The pest control industry
will continue to play an important role,
too, on the front lines.
"They are our eyes and ears out there.
They see and treat thousands of homes,"
Scheffrahn said. "They need to identify a
pest before they treat it."
When they see another puzzling pest,
Scheffrahn said he hopes they will seek
help, adding, "There was a lot of luck in
that first phone call."
The tree termite likely won't be the last
to land on Florida's shores.
"We certainly haven't seen the end of
exotic termites. I've seen a number of pest
species in offshore areas near Florida,"
Scheffrahn said. "We need to be ready to
deal with whatever shows up." ;its
"THIS IS THE FIRST
EXAMPLE OF A SOCIAL
ERADICATED IN THE
UNITED STATES AND ONE
OF THE FIRST IN THE
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
HELPING FARMERS COPE
WITH TOMATO DISEASES
Since 1981, University of Florida horticulturist Steve Olson has
watched farmers battle tomato diseases.
In severe cases of bacterial wilt, he has seen farmers abandon
their tomato fields or turn to less-lucrative crops. He even knows of
farmers who gave up and sold these farms.
Working at UF's North Florida Research and Education Center in
Quincy, in the midst of a 5,000-acre tomato-growing region, Olson and
plant pathologist Tim Momol don't have to go far to see the need for
their research on bacterial wilt, bacterial spot and tomato spotted wilt
"Gadsden County is bigger in tomatoes than many states," Olson
said. "Tomatoes are important in Florida, important in the diet, and
they're a cash crop for growers when they do well."
In fact, Florida tomatoes account for 65 percent of the $1 billion
value of the U.S. tomato crop. Tomato diseases, however, can cut into
Left to right: Horticulturists Drs. Steve Olson and Tim Momol
discuss results of a bacterial spot experiment in a greenhouse.
1 4,\ I
42 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
Olson has seen crop losses as high as 100 percent from bacterial wilt,
a soil-borne disease that historically is most severe in North Florida and
South Georgia. The disease spreads easily on soil, on stakes and on the
clothes and hands of field workers.
"Several thousand acres have gone out of tomato production due to
bacterial wilt in the southeast," Olson said. "Once it gets in the soil, you
have to abandon the farm or grow another crop."
Like bacterial wilt, bacterial spot thrives in Florida's warm, humid
climate, Momol said. Bacterial spot, too, is moved by people and equip-
ment and even by wind-driven rain, making it a widespread disease from
Ohio to the Caribbean. While copper sprays help, resistance to copper is
widespread in Florida, and the copper can build up in the soil, possibly
causing problems in the future.
To manage tomato diseases, the researchers are turning to integrated
"We want to control plant diseases by focusing on the production
system rather than on pesticides," Momol said. "In integrated crop man-
agement, you look at the whole cropping system. Sometimes when you
change one thing, you have no idea the ripple effect it will have, so you
have to look at the whole picture."
One example of using integrated crop management occurred re-
cently when the researchers were trying to figure out why a field that
had been free of disease suddenly became contaminated. They looked
for a pattern of contamination and found the culprit.
"The farmer would plant, the field would be disease-free, then in a
short period of time, the field would be contaminated," Olson said. "We
found it was the water used for irrigation."
It was the first time bacterial wilt had been found in irrigation and
surface water in the United States. Within 15 days of targeting the
source of infection, the researchers had met with farmers and come up
with a solution. A small amount of chlorine added to irrigation water
can prevent this source of infection.
"That's the advantage of being here in the middle of the industry,"
Momol said. "We were able to talk to the growers at a breakfast meeting
and change the production practices in a short turnaround time."
The researchers also have identified new compounds, such as thymol
and yucca extract, that help in field management of bacterial wilt. These
IMPORTANT IN FLORIDA,
IMPORTANT IN THE DIET,
AND THEY'RE A CASH
CROP FOR GROWERS
WHEN THEY DO WELL.
plant-derived compounds act as a bactericide. The researchers hold a
U.S. patent on use of thymol against bacterial wilt. Momol said thymol
can reduce a 90 percent rate of disease incidence on a field to 15 to 20
Momol and Olson have had some success with bacterial spot, too.
Working with UF plant pathologist Jeff Jones in Gainesville, the re-
searchers are using bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, in treat-
ing plants for the disease. Combining bacteriophages with Actigard ,
which stimulates the tomato plant's natural resistance to bacterial spot,
works better at controlling bacterial spot than using problematic copper
sprays alone, Momol said.
For tomato spotted wilt, the researchers are using plant-derived es-
sential oils as a repellent for thrips, a tiny insect that carries the virus.
Using the natural compounds helps growers avoid using chemical insec-
ticides, a big goal of integrated crop management practices.
Olson said breeding tomato plants with resistance to the virus will
play an important role in helping farmers combat the disease. He and
Momol work with tomato breeder Jay Scott, based at UF's Gulf Coast
Research and Education Center in east Hillsborough County, on trials
that evaluate plants with resistance as well as material from commercial
Olson said tomato farmers are receptive to research and open to new
"If we can show them a better way," Olson said, "they will try it and
see how it does." -!1
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 43
The Biscayne Aquifer is the liquid heart of South Florida, sup-
plying drinking water for more than 2 million people and fresh
water for the fragile ecosystems of Biscayne and Florida bays.
So important is this resource that University of Florida water sci-
entists Yuncong Li and Kati Migliaccio have made water the focus of
their research and extension activities at UF's Tropical Research and
Education Center in Homestead.
Li is collaborating with colleagues to plan an outreach program he
calls the Water Academy, and he believes the Homestead research center
would be the perfect site.
"We already provide water quality training for extension agents in
four counties and we would like to expand that to other counties and
local environmental groups and federal agencies," Li said. "This would
make our research more accessible to the public."
Li already is working with the Miccosukee Indian tribe to monitor
water quality on 189,000 acres the tribe owns. The tribe has long been
concerned that water flowing onto the land is not clean enough. Under
the Everglades Forever Act, water flowing into the natural area should
contain no more than 10 parts per billion of phosphorus. In his water
sampling program, however, Li has found that phosphorus levels are
Li has established five monitoring stations from which he collects
weekly samples and one site that is so remote that samples are collected
every other week by helicopter. Li's data are being gathered into a data-
base that can be used to analyze changes in the water quality over time
as activities outside the Miccosukee land change and affect the water
quality on the tribe's land.
Left to right: Drs. Yuncong Li and Kati Migliaccio
use a rainfall simulator to research water and
nutrient movement in a gravelly calcareous soil
in South Florida.
Migliaccio's research focuses on those
activities outside Miccosukee land and
complements Li's studies. In work funded
by the USDA, she is investigating how
best management practices, or BMPs, for
irrigation and nutrient management affect
In one of her projects, on papaya,
she evaluated irrigation treatments that
reduce water usage by 80 to 90 percent.
In another study, on a palm tree farm, she
found that water use could be cut by 95
percent and fertilizer use cut in half with-
out changing the height, diameter or color
of the trees.
Traditionally, water has not been a
limited resource for South Florida farmers,
Migliaccio said. But as the area has grown,
so has pressure on the water supply, and
that has prompted more research.
"It shows how much money can
be saved on fertilizer and irrigation,"
Migliaccio said. "All the studies have re-
sulted in even more water savings than I
could have imagined."
"Our findings indicate it may be even
better for the plant to have less water,"
Migliaccio said, "and it's nice to be able to
give the growers better information."
For the experiments, Migliaccio mea-
sured water and nutrients both in the root
zone and below the root zone. In the root
zone, the plant has access to the water and
nutrients. The amounts that seep below
the root zone, however, are not available
for the plant, which tells Migliaccio how
to better manage water and fertilizers.
"Irrigation affects nutrients, and this
helps us determine the combined ef-
fect of nutrient and irrigation practices,"
Although Migliaccio began her re-
search with an ecosystem focus, she dis-
covered agronomic benefits as well. For
the palm study, Migliaccio worked in real-
world conditions at a grower's farm, an
experience she found valuable.
"It's different in a field than in a re-
search plot. Now I've seen both sides,"
Migliaccio said, "and this gives some sense
of what's practical, so I can gear my re-
search toward things growers can use.
"My research is interesting from a sci-
ence point of view," Migliaccio said, "but
it's practical, too." -!'
"ALL THE STUDIES HAVE
RESULTED IN EVEN MORE
WATER SAVINGS THAN I
COULD HAVE IMAGINED.
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
PLANT SCIENCE UNIT ISA
SMORGASBORD OF RESEARCH
ing students who needed room to test the robotic car they displayed at
the National Championship game.
Colvin is surrounded by science-1,068 acres of it to be exact.
"We have wonderful laboratories, greenhouses and other facili-
ties in Gainesville," Colvin said, "but until the development of the
plant science unit, there was no comprehensive place to grow crops for
Just 18 miles south of Gainesville, the Citra unit's gently rolling
acreage has something for almost any agricultural researcher. About
"AG RICU LTURAL
RESEARCH IS STILL
HANDS-ON, THERE'S STILL
A LOT TO BE DONE."
Danny L. Colvin, Director, Plant Science
Research and Education Unit
46 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
As research director at the University of Florida's plant science
unit in Citra, Danny Colvin oversees 450 experiments at any
Blueberries here, potatoes there. Irrigation systems aboveground and
below. Organic oranges and cold-tolerant oranges. Fertilizers on this
plot, pesticides on another. Forage grasses on this pasture, the dreaded
tropical soda apple on another. Nematodes underground, barn owl
boxes on posts. Until recently, Colvin even loaned space to UF engineer-
115 researchers use it for experiments,
teaching and demonstrations. Colvin, an
agronomist by training, gave up his own
weed science research when he saw the
Citra site's potential for furthering the
wide range of research in UF's Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences. One
of the main advantages was access to an
"When I first joined IFAS, each fac-
ulty member maintained his own tractor,
equipment, et cetera," said Colvin, recall-
ing his arrival on campus in 1984. "Older
faculty members had the tractors and
equipment they needed for field work, but
younger ones had to beg and borrow."
"One of the biggest arguments I ever
saw was over irrigation pipes," Colvin said.
"The pipes were painted on the end with
a color designating which faculty member
owned them. One guy painted over an-
other guy's color."
Clearly, there had to be a better way.
In 1995, when beef cattle research moved
to other locations, the Citra site, donated
to UF in 1972, was dedicated to plant sci-
ence research. Colvin became its overseer.
"Now the faculty members don't have
to spend half a day to get a machine to
work for the 15 minutes of planting they
need to do," Colvin said. "They tell us
how they want it done, and we do it."
As a farmer-he was raised on a pea-
nut and cotton farm in southern Alabama
and has farmed peanuts himself-Colvin
had the practical experience the job re-
quires. And as a scientist, he understands
what the researchers need.
"Here the researchers have a staff that
understands statistics and research, who
can see the big picture and understand
what is important today," Colvin said.
"Most researchers don't have hands-on ex-
perience with how to hook up a tractor to
a breaking plow, and here they don't need
to. They can focus on research."
The Citra site represents agriculture at
its most precise. Using a global positioning
system, or GPS, the farm is laid out on a
grid, in blocks of 200 square feet. Each
block has been drilled, so that the soil can
be characterized at all depths. For each
block, there is a historical record of the
chemicals applied to it.
One section of the farm has eight miles
of underground pipes for use in drip ir-
rigation studies. Huge overhead irrigation
systems also are available. In one experi-
ment, satellites flying overhead transmit
data back to the station.
The farm has three soil types and
microclimates, providing a range of condi-
tions for researchers. The main station for
FAWN, the Florida Automated Weather
Network, also is on the Citra site.
Researchers in Gainesville can access
the grid by computer to find a certain
soil for a certain crop, or to find a plot
that might work for a study of how
long a certain chemical stays in the soil.
Faculty members get an e-mail when their
plots receive applications of fertilizers or
On the eastern edge an arboretum
designed to have 90 percent of Florida's
common trees is springing up. Nearby, a
51-acre plot has been certified as organic.
Another site is set up to study robotic har-
vesting. Wildlife studies are possible, too.
Sandhill cranes migrate through the site,
and it is populated by gopher tortoises.
Unlike a real farm, the Citra site is set
up for quick change and unusual requests
by researchers, like one crop grown with
different row-spacing. Weeds are planted
and nematodes released to study methods
of controlling the crop pests.
"A real farmer would have a fit,"
Colvin said, "but we'll do it to accommo-
date our researchers, just to see what hap-
pens for the sake of science."
Colvin said the farm houses the finest
turfgrass research facility in the United
States. This section looks almost surreal,
its miniature athletic field bracketed by a
goalpost on one end and a soccer goal on
the other, and sprouting a dozen different
turfgrasses. Next to it is a baseball infield.
Nearby are three golf fairways, com-
plete with greens and tees and even more
varieties of grass being tested. Colvin said
a machine with soles of golf shoes is rolled
across some experiments to see how the
grasses hold up under extreme foot traffic.
A water hazard on one hole has sensors
that measure how much fertilizer goes into
the pond. A 9-hole putting course, again
planted with different grasses, sometimes
is used to introduce very young children
"If it's a grass that can be grown in
Florida, it's here," Colvin said. "There's
even a grass that can be watered with salt
water, so we add salt when we irrigate it."
Disputes over tractors and pipes are a
thing of the past.
"Agricultural research is still hands-on,
there's still a lot to be done," Colvin said.
"But there are no more arguments over
who gets watered or who gets planted. We
service all the researchers with any field ex-
periment they wish to study, whether they
have been at UF thirty years or just joined
the faculty last month." i!'
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
KEEPING THE FOCUS ON RESEARCH
Wilkinson's "shop" is the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Sponsored Programs office. The office handles both pre-award and post-
award matters for the more than 900 faculty members in IFAS. It's a big
job. In the 2005-2006 budget year, the office processed more than 1,000
grant applications, seeking almost $200 million in research funding.
Wilkinson, director of Sponsored Programs since December 2004,
said she views her office as a service unit for researchers.
"We're trying to be sure we keep the faculty focused on what they do
best, which is research," Wilkinson said.
48 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
university of Florida fisheries and aquatic sciences Professor
Dan Canfield teaches and conducts research. He is the
founder of Florida LAKEWATCH, a citizen-volunteer water
quality monitoring program now being emulated internationally.
He brings in more than $1 million a year in his research program.
While he is an expert on water resource policy and aquatic ecosystem
management, he is not an expert in legal terms and accounting. Nor
does he want to be. And that's where Nancy Wilkinson comes in.
"When I go into Nancy's shop, they take care of the paperwork,"
Canfield said, "and I continue with my research."
The office is unusual in that it ser-
vices both ends of the grant process from
one location. On the pre-award team,
Wilkinson said, her staff reviews each
grant application before it goes out to be
sure that the legal terms and conditions
can be met both by the granting agency
and by UE More and more, grant applica-
tions are being done electronically, and the
pre-award staff is trained to buffer the re-
searchers from the technological complica-
tions that sometimes are encountered with
For the post-award team, the job focus
is more on finance and accounting. These
team members follow the money, making
sure the approved funding from the grant-
ing agency is released into the proper ac-
counts. They then prepare an accounting
of expenses and submit the invoice to the
sponsor to obtain payment for UF/IFAS.
"It's not unusual to have a faculty
member with three or more awards, all
with different requirements, and we need
Nancy Wilkinson, Director, IFAS Sponsored
Programs and Director of Finance, Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station
to help them meet those requirements,"
Wilkinson said. "And when the money ar-
rives, we provide the proper stewardship."
Wilkinson brings 25 years of experi-
ence to the job. She started her career at
UF in the 1980s and "caught the bug for
research administration." She went to
Emory University to create a sponsored
programs office there, eventually mov-
ing on to head sponsored programs at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a
perennial top-five university in attracting
She returned to UF in 2004 for the
unique challenge of revamping a com-
bined pre-award and post-award office-
IFAS Sponsored Programs-on a more
personal scale, where there is plenty of
contact with the faculty.
"In the college environment we have
here, the customer is the faculty, and we
are close to the faculty," Wilkinson said.
"If they need help, we're right here. It's
The office is working on improving
response times and speeding up the move-
ment of paperwork by revising processes
and bringing on more personnel. As the
level of funding has grown-$70 million
moved through her office last year-the
level of paperwork has grown, too. Still,
she said, the process needs to "happen
Canfield has no doubt she can make
that happen. At Sponsored Programs, he
said, he gets the personal attention that
makes him feel like "a big fish."
"It's like having a right hand. When
you do grants, there are so many ins and
outs, depending on the agency, and her
staff knows them," Canfield said. "IfI had
to do all that, I wouldn't know how to or
want to. This takes a burden off and keeps
the faculty productive." -'`.
"WE'RE TRYING TO BE
SURE WE KEEP THE
FACULTY FOCUSED ON
WHAT THEY DO BEST,
WHICH IS RESEARCH."
2006 RESEARCH REPORT
JANAKI R.R. ALAVALAPATI, PH.D.
Associate Professor of Forest Resource Economics and Policy
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
S the economics and
policy analysis of
for timber and non-
timber products and
for the environment
raises myriad issues relating to forest conservation and management,"
Forest and resource conservation and management issues are ex-
pected to cause intense regional social, economic and environmental
"Knowledge about these impacts help forest land owners, corporate
managers and policy makers make decisions relating to forest conserva-
tion and management," he said.
Alavalapati is currently analyzing policy issues associated with forests
and other natural resources, including socio-economic and environmen-
tal impacts of forest and natural resource policy issues; distributional im-
pacts of policies; and implications for resource management in Florida,
the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Alavalapati has investigated climate change and forest carbon se-
questration, wildland-urban interface, agroforestry, recreation, collective
resource management and bioenergy.
His research findings have offered a scientific and economic basis
to promote growing trees on ranchlands and conservation easements in
Florida and to restore longleaf pine ecosystem.
Due to Alavalapati's research findings, more progressive policies
have been developed concerning the Nyungwe Forest management in
Rwanda. In India, his research findings helped guide public participa-
tion in forest management. Alavalapati's research also helped protect
areas of management in Nepal.
Alavalapati said that his own "ongoing research on designing opti-
mum policies for forest biomass and bioenergy production is expected
to produce results that encourage healthy forests, alleviate energy scarcity
and revitalize rural communities in the U.S. South."
In the last five years, he has published two books, a conference pro-
ceeding, 20 book chapters, 50 refereed publications and a special issue of
Forest Policy and Economics.
LAWRENCE E. DATNOFF, PH.D.
Professor of Plant Pathology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Instead of using
to control crop
S Datnoff says rice
thousands of dollars
in production costs
and boost yields sim-
ply by adding some
silicon to the soil.
"Silicon can be as
effective as chemical fungicides alone," said Datnoff. "When it comes to
controlling diseases, many registered fungicides do not have as broad a
spectrum of activity." Research by Datnoff, his students and colleagues
shows that increasing soil levels of silicon for rice controls several dis-
eases, such as sheath blight, grain discoloration and rice blast, and in-
creases yields at the same time.
"Rice growers could save themselves more than a half-million dol-
lars annually in fungicide costs by increasing silicon levels in the soil,"
Datnoff said. "We've also measured yield increases ranging from 30 to
60 percent. Silicon also allows growers to produce rice in a more envi-
ronmentally sound system, and the natural material provides consumers
with a higher-quality product."
This research has major implications for other rice production areas
with similar soils low in silicon.
Silicon also can help control certain insects and may help plants bet-
ter utilize other nutrients such as phosphorous, allowing growers to bet-
ter manage insecticides and fertilizers, Datnoffsaid.
"If growers worldwide use this material on the appropriate soils, they
can reduce their use of fungicides and affect environmental quality. It's
good environmental stewardship to look for alternatives, considering
people's concerns with the use of fungicides and other pesticides and
their perceived effects on land and water quality," Datnoff said.
Datnoff, along with his students and colleagues, have also shown
that silicon suppresses many turfgrass diseases. And they are investigat-
ing similar effects against diseases of ornamentals, bedding plants and
other agronomic crops.
- 0 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
JUDEW. GROSSER, PH.D.
Professor of Cell Genetics
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Jude Grosser is
citrus industry fight
Rice offers disease
resistance that Grosser
and his colleagues are
borrowing for use in
The grain has a
gene that provides protection from rice bacterial blight, a disease closely
related to citrus canker.
Grosser's research team transferred the resistance gene to Hamlin
orange trees. The first of these trees is being tested in a quarantine facil-
ity to determine if it can resist the most common strain of citrus canker
If the test proves successful, the trees will be field-tested to evaluate
their ability to resist canker and produce fruit in a real-world environ-
ment, Grosser said. Eventually they could become the first canker-
resistant citrus variety UF makes available to growers.
"Genetics research has great potential to help the citrus industry
overcome this threat," Grosser said. "We're confident it will happen,
and we've got a running start, thanks to all the work that's been done
Grosser is also looking to biotechnology to help develop citrus root-
stocks that are needed to improve soil adaptation, tree survivability and
Another of Grosser's research projects focuses on developing seedless,
high-quality, easy-to-eat cultivars.
L. CURTIS HANNAH, PH.D.
Professor of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
studies the molecular
genetics of starch pro-
duction in corn. He is
in genetic mutations
that change the size,
shape and texture of
"The corn seed
represents an ideal
ground," Hannah said. "Because corn seeds are large and easy to exam-
ine, subtle and not-so-subtle genetic differences are easily perused."
Hannah has been active in a long-term UF research project to under-
stand how genes control development of corn and other cereal
grains-the source of about 90 percent of the world's food supply.
By understanding the genetic basis for many traits of corn, including
disease and insect susceptibility, biochemical composition and nutri-
tive value, breeders will be able to use genetic tests and markers to more
readily identify subtle but desirable traits in crops.
Corn plants contain more than 40,000 genes, and researchers want
to learn more about the subset of those 40,000 genes that are important
to agriculture, particularly from the standpoint of plant growth, metabo-
lism, disease resistance and crop yield.
Hannah has received more than $12 million to support his research
from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of
Results from his research have been published in prestigious journals
such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Plant Cell,
Plant Journal, and Plant Physiology.
Hannah has been awarded 14 patents and his work has been licensed
to six of the leading plant biotechnology and breeding companies.
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 51
GEORGE O'CONNOR, PH.D.
Professor of Soil Chemistry
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
s "y 're t is raising a cautionary
note about restricting
the use of biosolids
on fields, forests and
sewage sludge, bio-
solids can be used
to fertilize plants
and enrich soil, said
The state recycles about 80 percent of its sludge this way, but critics
say biosolids release too much phosphorus, a nutrient considered the
state's top water-quality concern.
O'Connor recently completed a four-year study showing that there
is actually wide variation in the amount of soluble phosphorus biosolids
contain, depending on the processing methods involved. Also, some
biosolids release more of their phosphorus than others.
"We've identified a method that can be used in the laboratory to
predict how much phosphorus biosolids will release," O'Connor said.
"This is a big step toward understanding the true environmental impact
of biosolids and using them more efficiently."
Biosolids are produced by breaking down solids in sewage sludge
using naturally occurring bacteria, then sanitizing and dewatering the
material. The result is a black, soil-like material that contains important
plant nutrients including phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium
and sulfur; biosolids also help soil retain water.
Florida produces 300,000 dry tons of biosolids each year and im-
ports another 100,000 dry tons.
"The biggest challenge for Florida and the nation is to develop
consistent, scientifically sound regulatory strategies for dealing with
biosolids," O'Connor said. "We need to take advantage of the benefits
biosolids offer, but use them in ways that help us manage the overall
amount of phosphorus in the environment."
O'Connor's current research, funded by the Florida Water
Environment Association, is investigating biosolids produced and used
in Florida to determine their environmental impact.
"Right now, Florida is using multiple types of biosolids for land ap-
plication," he said. "Building on our previous research, we want to iden-
tify any products that could constitute a problem and determine how we
could better manage them."
K.T. SHANMUGAM, PH.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Cell Sciences
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
search focuses on
ways to convert waste
crops into ethanol, a
renewable source of
amount of ethanol
produced to meet
needs of the country
would place a significant demand on corn, a food and feed source," said
Shanmugam. "Lignocellulosic biomass, such as crop residues and energy
crops, can serve as an alternate, inexpensive, feedstock for ethanol pro-
duction without impacting the cost of corn.
Shanmugam plays a crucial role in the UF Florida Center for
Renewable Chemicals and Fuels, where he has led the effort to geneti-
cally engineer bacteria for more efficient hydrogen production. He is
also involved in making microbial fuel cells for electricity generation.
"Professor Shanmugam's knowledge of microbial physiology has
been instrumental in the FCRCF's efforts to convert lignocellulose to
ethanol," said Eric W. Triplett, professor and chair of the Department of
Microbiology and Cell Science. "This work has led to significant grant
support, important published works and intellectual property. This work
will one day facilitate the conversion of large amounts of agricultural
wastes in Florida to ethanol for transportation fuel."
Shanmugan has been principal or co-principal investigator on more
than $6 million in grant support from the U.S. Department of Energy
and other agencies over the last five years.
52 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06
Fiscal Year OTL Invention FFSP Cultivar TOTAL
00/01 37 12 49
01/02 22 34 56
02/03 28 17 45
03/04 32 21 53
04/05 29 21 50
05/06 33 44 77
TOTAL 181 149 330
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06
Fiscal Year OTL License FFSP License TOTAL
00/01 3 19 22
01/02 21 41 62
02/03 22 73 95
03/04 15 105 120
04/05 14 28 42
05/06 18 67 85
TOTAL 93 333 426
U.S. PATENTS ISSUED
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06
Fiscal Year OTL Patents OTL U.S. FFSP US PVP/P TOTAL
Patents Issued Patents Issued Patents Issued
00/01 42 15 6 21
01/02 47 16 8 24
02/03 28 12 10 22
03/04 55 10 12 22
04/05 25 12 5 17
05/06 40 63 10 73
TOTAL 237 128 51 179
IFAS LICENSE INCOME
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06
Fiscal Year OTL IFAS FFSP IFAS TOTAL
License Income License Income
00/01 $1,772,585 $616,953 $2,389,538
01/02 $2,545,765 $705,805 $3,251,570
02/03 $2,716,928 $1,341,354 $4,058,282
03/04 $2,789,435 $1,269,660 $4,059,095
04/05 $2,635,258 $1,549,547 $4,184,805
05/06 $2,415,470 $1,982,585 $4,398,055
BERRYJ. TREAT, M.S.
Assistant Director, Research Programs
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Treat is the
(FFSP). He is
of all germplasm discovered and developed in the
experiment station. Together with the Office of
Technology and Licensing (OTL), they facilitate
invention and technology transfer to the agricul-
ture industry and manage all forms of intellectual
property for IFAS using an invitation to negotiate
(ITN) process. In the past year, FAES has released
44 cultivars, and OTL reported 33 invention dis-
closures. Total new cultivars and new inventions
number 281 in the past five years. The majority
of plant germplasm and inventions developed
at UF/IFAS is protected through the federal US
Office of Patents and Trademarks and/or the Plant
Variety Protection Office. The licensing agents
work closely with UF's faculty and plant breeders
(currently working in over 40 crop areas) and as-
sist in commercializing new and improved variet-
ies and inventions around the world. IFAS revenue
from licensed inventions was approximately $4.4
million in 2005-06 and a total $20 million in the
past five years. IFAS research programs continue
to benefit and grow because of technology transfer
with private/commercial company partners.
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 53
DIRECTOR'S FINANCIAL REPORT
Research Expenditures by Source of Fund
State Fiscal Year 2005-2006
(NOTE: This is not an accounting document)
S Ind tryGrants Agenc
& Contracts 15,
Federal Agency Funds
National Institute of Health
Department of Interior
J-ri -..* ,. Eu.1-rJ
:. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Air Force
,:*....:..:.,,: Sea Grant
s5,317,030.00 Department of Commerce
s 4.% Department of Housing and
% Urban Develoment
National Science Foundation
National Aeronautics and Space
Environmental Protection Agency
Agency for International
Federal Flow Through Other
Source of Funds
State Agency Funds
Department of Health
Department of Education
Department of Transportation
Department of Agriculture and
Source of Funds
State General Revenue
Department of Citrus
Department of Environmental
Department of Children & Families
Department of State
Department of Commerce
Department of Business and
Department of Administration
Department of Community Affairs
Institute of Phosphate Research
Department of Labor
Game and Fresh Water Fish
Water Management District
State Board of Regents
Other Sponsored Funds
54 2006 RESEARCH REPORT
SUMMARY OF IFAS SPONSORED RESEARCH ACTIVITY
New Awards Received
Total Research Awards FY 05-06
IFAS RESEARCH AWARDS BY UNIT
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTERS
Total $16.9M, 25%
"The success four faculty is based on discovery,
innovation, and application of the best science."
Dr. Mark R. McLellan
Dean for Research
Director, Florida Agricultural
IFAS RESEARCH AWARDS BY SPONSOR
Florida Med. Entomology Lab
FOUNDATIONS 1 0
FEDERAL AWARDS BY AGENCY
USDA (CSREES) $10.8M
USDA (ARS) $1.20M
USDA (Others) $5.20M
DOD (incl. Army) $1.30M
Total $45.9M, 67%
AND CONSERVATION' 0
AG. AND BIO
OTHER ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS
Entomology & Nematology
Family Youth & Community Sci.
Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences
Microbiology & Cell Science
Soil and Water Science
Wildlife Ecology & Conservation
Other Academic Departments
SPONSORED IFAS RESEARCH AWARDS
OTHER NON-ACADEMIC UNITS
2006 RESEARCH REPORT 55
U F/I FAS Statewide Research and Education Network
Off-Campus Research and Education Centers:
1 CITRUS REC LakeAlfred
2 EVERGLADES REC I Belle Glade
3 FLORIDA MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY LAB I VeroBeach
4 FORT LAUDERDALE REC Fort Lauderdale
5 GULF COAST REC I Wimauma, Plant City
6 INDIAN RIVER REC FortPierce
7 MID-FLORIDA REC |Apopka
8 NORTH FLORIDA REC Live Oak, Marianna, Quincy
9 RANGE CATTLE RECI Ona
10 SOUTHWEST FLORIDA REC I Immokalee
11 SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH STATION (USDA-ARS) I Brooksville
12 TROPICAL REC I Homestead
13 WEST FLORIDA REC Ijay, Milton
Research and Demonstration Sites:
14 FLORIDA PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER, AGRICULTURAL
AND COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY I Hastings
15 PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION UNIT ICitra
16 TROPICAL AQUACULTURE LABORATORY Ruskin
Academic Departments and Schools (GAINESVILLE, FL)
AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION
ENTOMOLOGY AND NEMATOLOGY
FAMILY, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY SCIENCES
FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES
FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS
FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION
SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
MICROBIOLOGY AND CELL SCIENCE
SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH/EXTENSION
PLANT MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY
SOIL AND WATER SCIENCE
WILDLIFE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Multidisciplinary Programs (GAIN ESVILLE, FL)
AGRICULTURAL LAW CENTER
CENTER FOR AQUATIC AND INVASIVE PLANTS
CENTER FOR COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS-FAMU
CENTER FOR FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND RETAILING
CENTER FOR NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES
CENTER FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
CENTER FOR REMOTE SENSING
CENTER FOR RENEWABLE CHEMICALS AND FUELS
CENTER FOR SUBTROPICAL AGROFORESTRY
CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE
ENERGY EXTENSION SERVICE
FLORIDA ORGANIC RECYCLING CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE-FORCE
FLORIDA SEA GRANT
INTERDISCIPLINARY CENTER FOR BIOTECHNICAL RESEARCH-ICBR
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND POLICY CENTER
PROGRAM FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENT COMMUNITIES
TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURE-T-STAR
UF JUICE AND BEVERAGE CENTER
Supported Colleges (GAINESVILLE, FL)
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION I INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES I UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
This annual research report is published by Dr. Mark R. McLellan, Dean for Research, in order to further programs and related activities, available to all persons with
nondiscriminaton with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. Information
about alternate formats is available from IFAS Communication Services, University ofFlorida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810.
Produced by IFAS Communication Services I March 2007