Institute of Food and
Note from the Dean for Research
Mark R. McLellan
Dean for Research, IFAS
Director, Florida., ...... 1/.
"The Land Grant University" the words
are easily spoken by some and, unfortunately, all
but forgotten by many. This great university of
ours is a land grant university. Not because of
the leaders that steer the ship, but due rather
to the spirit of those that hold the land grant
passion in their hearts. This is not a descrip
tion of where we came from, it is a descrip
tion of what we are called to be. To some it
may mean nothing, but for others it is a way
of life, a way of instilling passion and focus
on being a citizens' university that integrates
TEACHING, RESEARCH and EXTENSION
and reaches out to meet the needs of society.
j In this issue of the Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station's Annual Research Report,
we focus on the discoveries of IFAS faculty. We
I )look at the integration of research and teaching
through our Summer Internship Program and the
partnership with Extension in our discoveries for the
future. We often talk about our researchers as pioneers and explorers.
They are! They seek discoveries that will make a difference and match
the goals of the true land grant university. These researchers, these
explorers believe in doing something for the greater good -connecting
with citizens and seeking solutions to life's chill:'ng,'. The break
through we summarize in this report have impact, are exciting and
reflect a commitment to make a difference.
In this report you will explore carbon sequestration and food safety
breakthroughs. You will be introduced to microbes that are helpful
and microbes that are harmful. We discuss insects and the new dis
coveries in biological control as well as managing insects that impact
humans. We introduce you to a new superior bahiagrass for cattle
and new tomatoes with better taste and higher lycopene. We hope you
enjoy this introduction to some of our IFAS explorers.
We are passionate about our basic sciences, for it is these sciences that
power our discoveries. We nurture innovation, for it is innovation
that brings us to the next insight. And we are focused on applications,
for it is the connection of our discoveries and innovations applied to
real world needs that keeps us relevant.
There are some that would dismiss the land grant university as
outdated and not suited for the modern world and thus ready to be
dismantled and reused. This is short sighted thinking that misses
the point of why IFAS researchers care so much about the impact of
their work. We are a citizens' university -connected to the land, our
farmers and ranchers. We are connected to our natural resources,
air, water, land and seas. But most of all, we are connected to people,
the citizens of the State of Florida and their needs. IFAS researchers
are the vanguard, the point, the lead in seeking answers to serve and
improve the quality of lives. Welcome to the Florida Agricultural
2 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
Table of Contents
Florida Agricullural Experiment Slalion Summer Inlernship Program 4 a
II -II :ll I, I I IFl:. -: ,llo II ,:i i ,- ,: 1 2
II III I I II II iiiIII I 1 5
II I II I,:,,i : rI ,,-l l ,-,:,: l I,,-i -:: ,: i id j l i i I l 1
I, ,-: ,- ,- I, ,I , A ,,: 1 1 ,- i ii in l i, r,,, 19 6l lH B l K
II rl s high-yiel ing subtri ical bhigr s 2 83
I-,-ii ,I i IrI I ,-I :I j-: I ll I i, i -I jI I, i, 26
H I I ,,,, r,- I- I I, 11 r, rli l Ii, -, 2 7
UF releases high-yielding subtropical bahiagrass 28
Flavorful, healthy Tasti-LeeTM tomato released 29
Research Foundation Professors (UFRF) 30
Richard Jones Research Faculty Awards 33
IFAS Patents and Licenses 34
Director's Financial Reporl 36
Research Awards FY 2007-2008 37
UF/IFAS Statewide Research and Education Network 38
ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT is published by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and is produced by
IFAS Information and Communication Services (JACK BATTENFIELD, Director).
To change an address, request extra copies of ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT, or to be added to the mailing list, e-mail research@ifas ufl edu
or write to Research Administration, PO. Box 110200, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0200.
ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT is available in alternative formats. Visit our Web site: http //research ifas ufl edu
MARK R. McLELLAN ROBERT WELLS DAVID GODWIN
Dean for Research and Director, Writer Cover Photo
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
HEATHER READ MICKIE ANDERSON
DOUGLAS L. ARCHER Co Writer DARRYL PALMER
Associate Dean for Research TRACY BRYANT Copy Editors
TRACY BRYANT Copy Editors
MARY L. DURYEA Designer PRINTED BY: StorterChilds Printing
Associate Dean for Research
MARZINNIA DEAN Photographer
Copyright 201 by the University of Florida/IFAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 3
IIl il 3l:
2009 RESEARCH REPORT
ummer vacation typically conjures up thoughts is a cooperative effort between the C ,llg' of Agricultural
of beach vacations, time off without homework, and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Experiment Station.
and maybe working a part time job at the mall or For six weeks in the summer of 2009, 30 students par
lifeguarding by the pool. ticipated in the Research Summer Internship. Four of the
But for a group of hard-working University of Florida faculty-led internship programs are highlighr,'.l here to give
students, the summer is an opportunity to focus on a briefly 1 ,,1 into some of the exciting research that stu
hands-on research alongside expert faculty as part of dents were able to delve into and make a part of their own.
the IFAS research summer internships with the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station. The internship program
FOLATE RESEARCH HITS CLOSE TO HOME
Intern Moline Blanc is extracting DNA from blood samples collected in
developing countries from women of reproductive age who have been
consuming low-folate diets. Dr. Lynn Bailey, professor, Department
of Food Science and Human Nutrition, observes Moline's analytical
procedures and provide direction.
Moline Blanc and Lynn Bailey were first time
participants in the summer internship program.
Blanc is a senior majoring in 1.i..1.. : 1.. moved
to the U.S. from Haiti when she was -5. After talking to
her genetics professor about getting involved in research,
she was introduced to Bailey, a professor of human
nutrition. Bailey took Blanc on as an intern to assist her in
researching folate and its effects on DNA. Bailey's research
has focused primarily on determining the requirements of
folic acid (vitamin Bg) and folate (the naturally occurring
form), key nutrients essential for normal maternal health
and fetal growth.
Blanc began by reading about folate and writing a detailed
research report to present to one of her classes. "I didn't
know anything about folate before this research," she said.
"Now I know a lot and can sit down with friends and talk
about it, how to get enough of it, and how important it is to
nutrition and health."
Folate is only concentrated in certain foods, including cit
rus and leafy green vegetables such as spinach. In the U.S.
birth defects from this vitamin deficiency are not as much
an issue because many foods are fortified with folic acid.
"It is even in breads, so people don't even need to eat much
citrus or leafy greens," Bailey said. "But this is not the case
in developing countries, because there is no fortification,
and babies die. The goal is birth-defect prevention."
All Bailey's works in collaboration with the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She works with
the Birth Defects and Disabilities Prevention branch of the
CDC where they are now defining how changes in folate
status changes DNA and affects birth defects. Eventually
they would make recommendations for fortification. The
summer was time for Blanc to get her feet wet in the lab,
where her work involved isolating, extracting and measure
ing DNA from blood samples from Honduras and China to
see how folate affects DNA. "What excited me about work
ing with Moline is her grassroots involvement," Bailey said.
"She is from Haiti, so has seen firsthand poverty and its
effects there. She has a cousin who was born with a birth
This firsthand knowledge, together with seeing the impact
of proper nutrition, is the main reason Blanc now wants to
working the medical field. From the summer internship she
learned about the research process and its importance.
"I come to the lab every morning and see how the lab
works," she said. "After I graduate, I want to get involved in
the clinical aspect. I want to help people and so might apply
to school to be a physician's assistant."
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
BIOENERGY FOR A BETTER WORLD
Dr. Ann Wilkie, associate professor, Department of Soil and Water Science, and interns discuss experiments with growing algae. Interns learned about
the potential of algae cultivation for biodiesel production and waste remediation. PHOTO BY THOMAS WRIGHT
The P.i. .. .. Summer School was one of the bigger
concentrations of interns in the summer 2009 intern
ship program. The group of six who researched 1i... i.
with Ann Wilkie, an associate professor in the soil and
water science department, came from diverse backgrounds
to explore the emerging sustainability frontier. Danielle
Keeter, Lanie Klopfer, Eric Layton, Taylor Norrell, Christa
Rummel and Divik Schueller utilized the summer to
immerse themselves in the concepts ofli -... .. i : and
Wilkie is the founder of the Bi...... Summer School,
which is funded by the IFAS summer internship program.
This is the fourth year of the program, an interactive
research internship allowing students to acquire knowledge
of and passion for 1. i ... ,i: and sustainable 1. 1 .1..
through hands-on experience. The internship covered a
broad range of sustainability topics including renewable
S waste management, climate change, the food vs.
fuel debate, sustainable agriculture, and social and political
Throughout the summer, the students worked together on
group projects and developed individual projects to pursue
their own interests in sustainability. Field trips were
an important aspect of the internship experience; these
included the'i, 'fi 'litng station at the UF motor pool, the
experimental cellulosic bioethanol plant on campus, a small
farm practicing sustainable agriculture, the southwest land
fill in Archer, GRU's Deerhaven power plant, and an anaer
obic digester pilot project in Ocala. To gain professional
experience, the students attended conferences throughout
the state, including the Florida State Horticultural Society
and the Soil and Crop Science of Florida annual meeting
in Jacksonville, the Florida Alliance for Renewable F ...
meeting in Largo, and the Florida Farm-to-Fuel Summit in
Orlando. As a group project, the students also researched
the nation of Haiti and how 1.i ... i : and sustainability
could help the citizens of Haiti prosper.
For some real hands-on, "dirt under the nails" experience,
the interns planted and maintained an -. :. garden.
Plants included oil crops, like sesame, sunflowers, peanuts
and canola; and sugar and cellulosic crops, like sweet sor
ghum, sugarcane, napiergrass and .. : ..-. To illustrate
the food vs. fuel debate, they also planted and tended an
organic food garden alongside the ... : garden.
2009 RESEARCH REPORT
"The goal of the garden is to harvest what we grow and
press the oil, filter it and see what could work for biodie
sel," said Rummel, a food resource and economics major.
Not only do the interns plant the crops but they harvest
the seeds, hand-press the oil, and convert (transesterify) the
oil into biodiesel within the laboratory. Through the ... .
garden, they experience the entire process of making biodie
sel literally from the ground up, pressing the oils out of the
seeds they grew.
The students were able to tailor their individual projects
towards their own interests. Norrell, an environmental
engineering major, worked to create an anaerobic digester
for sustainable development. Anaerobic digestion is the
process through which organic material is converted into
methane-rich biogas and nutrient rich biofertilizer. Biogas
can be used as a sustainable alternative to natural gas, while
the biofertilizer effluent can be used as an organic nutrient
source for agriculture.
Almost any organic material can be processed with anaero
bic digestion, including biodegradable waste materials such
as waste paper, grass clilp'1ing food waste, sewage and
In developing countries, simple home and farm-based
anaerobic digestion systems offer the potential for cheap,
low cost ... : for cooking, heating and lighting. Norrell
developed a small-scale digester with a low-cost, simple
design that would be practical for families in developing
nations. One of the lessons he learned this summer was the
beauty of simplicity and how to hone his design for ease of
use in developing countries.
"I had to encourage our engineers to go with more simple
designs," Wilkie said. "Taylor had tried using a number of
agitators, but found the simplest was just as effective."
Eric Layton's independent project was to design a portable
solar water heater made with glass bottles and bamboo. The
idea behind this project was to incorporate solar i
1 ,, I .lcations where access to manufactured solar
water heaters is not available, and make the design portable
so it can easily be transported.
"Bamboo is a very rigid material and in China can be sub
stituted for rebar in structures up to seven stories high,"
Layton, a mechanical engineering major, said. "I was
Wilkie and graduate student Ryan Graunke demonstrate
burning biogas from a food waste anaerobic digester.
PHOTO BY THOMAS WRIGHT
researching a portable, easy-to-carry design that could be
built in a developing nation."
Danielle Keeter, an environmental science major, works at
a local bakery and was interested in looking at the waste
that is produced there. She performed a waste audit at the
bakery to determine how much food waste was produced.
She collected the daily waste for two weeks, separating out
the food scraps from other waste. From this data, she esti
mated the total biogas production the bakery could expect
by anaerobically digesting its food waste. This is an integral
step in establishing anaerobic digestion of food waste from
Christa Rummel's project also focused on food waste
conversion to 1.i .. i : She drafted a business plan for a
company that collects food waste, anaerobically digests this
waste and then uses the biogas : to generate electricity
to put back into the grid. Diverting food waste from land
fills for sustainable biogas production supports Florida's
statewide :.. 11,,i; .oal of 7F percent by 2020.
Divik Schueller, a political science major, was interested in
the political process of funding and supporting 1. i .. i:
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
projects by the government and by the public. He conducted
research of policies supporting 1.i..... i: and sustainability
research and projects. There is still a lack of funding and
pertinent legislation, which Schueller believes can be attrib
uted to lack of awareness and education.
"People need to see how developments in 1 .1. i can
impact their lives and by seeing the positive changes they
can bring, such as lowering our reliance on fossil fuels,
they will become more supportive and 11111i to speak up,"
Lanie Klopfer, a microbiology and cell science major, exam
ined methods of breaking algae cells to release oils con
trained within. Algae represent a huge potential for future
S1.i .. .. developments due to their extremely high growth
rate and ability to use waste nutrients, marginal lands, and
SPONGES AND CORAL AND LO
nonpotable water. Oil-producing algae are currently being
researched at Wilkie's 1.i .. ... and sustainable t. 1 ..- 1. .
laboratory as an alternative source of oil for fuel produce
tion. One tough ch:llt:ig' is how to crack the recalcitrant
cell walls that are characteristic of some oil-rich algae. By
finding an effective way of harvesting the algal oil, fuel
from algae will be one step closer to fruition.
The students worked hard over the summer and gained
knowledge of the many 1l.i .. .. : options available. They
also learned that to bring these technologies to a large scale
requires public education and outreach. They remain confi
dent, though, that success can be attained.
"You have to start a fire with a spark," Rummel said.
BSTERS! OH MY!
Dr. Donald Behringer(right) research
assistant professor, School of
Forest Resources and Conservation,
directs FAES intern Mike Dickson
(center), and graduate student Corey
Stall (left), to a sponge restoration
PHOTO BY IAN MAGUIRE
SA hen Donald Behringer,
V a research assistant
professor of marine ecology at
the School of Forest Resources
and Conservation, received a
message announcing the sum
mer internship program, he
jumped at the chance to involve
students in his research in the
Florida Keys. He had never had
undergraduate interns before
2009 RESEARCH REPORT
and would have to house them because of the distance to
the research site, so he wasn't sure what to expect.
"This is a great opportunity to expose undergrads to
research," Behringer said. "A lot of times there is a kind of
warm fuzzy notion that marine biology is all about play
ing with dolphins and turtles. [But] there are long, sweaty
hours out in the field. It was an opportunity to really see
what research is all about and if it is for them. The program
gives us assistance with our projects, gives us skilled labor
because not just any student get this. It is win win."
Over the summer Behringer and his three interns, Matt
Smukall, Jonathan Bake and Michael Dickson focused
on two projects. With funding from Florida Sea Grant
they researched a lethal virus discovered in the juvenile
Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). These lobsters are
heavily fished in the Caribbean and are a major impact eco
nomically and ...I...,. .ii The researchers wanted to get a
handle for how the virus affects the fishery and vice versa.
The other project was a collaboration with the National
Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and the Nature Conservancy to
expand the sponge restoration in Everglades National Park.
Between the southern tip of Florida and the Florida Keys
lies Florida Bay, a relatively shallow estuary. The hard, flat
rock bottom is populated by numerous sponges and corals
that serve as nurseries for many organisms including log
gerhead turtles and crabs.
The sponges are very sensitive to cyanobacteria, and the last
bloom in 2007 wiped out most of the big sponges. The eco
logical significance of this loss is great, because sponges fil
ter water and serve as habitat. Behringer's research focuses
on understanding how to restore the hard bottom habitat,
particularly sponges. The researchers took sponges from
unaffected areas and put them in the affected area to find
out the best arrangement for new growth.
At the beginning of his six weeks in the Keys, Dickson, a
wildlife conservation major, worked mostly with lobsters,
setting up experiments, taking care of the wet lab, and
going out on weekly collecting runs. Toward the end of
summer he worked with sponges, setting out 24 x 24 meter
areas for placement of transplanted sponges. Dickson did
lab studies as well and found the program to be a good bal
ance between field and lab work.
Some of the lab studies involved chemical detection. One
of the key findings was that healthy lobsters can detect
and avoid diseased lobsters. Dickson was advancing work
on that premise to see what lobsters are detecting in the
Behringer (right) shows FAES intern Mike Dickson how to tell when a
Caribbean spiny lobster is infected with the lethal PaV1 disease. PHOTO
BY IAN MAGUIRE
"I really enjoyed learning about the lobster disease,"
Dickson said. "Like most people I had never heard of this
before talking to Dr. B, and I was :.11 ii i,,, I ued byit. I
enjoyed coming down here and getting hands-on lab experi
ence every day. Living together we are like a family down
here, it's been great."
Behringer heartily agrees.
"The internship in general has been a smashing success,
he said. "I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think the pro
gram and experience was fantastic."
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
BREEDING FLORIDA-FRIENDLY PLANTS FROM A-Z
t the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
this summer, Mary Derrick and Monica Raguckas
delved into plant breeding and care, including
determining pollen viability and understanding the process
of raising plants in a research setting.
The two worked with Zhanao Deng, an assistant profes
sor of horticulture whose research program focuses on the
development of new cultivars for the Florida environmental
horticulture industry and for Florida-friendly landscape
ing. Florida plants face severe chill:'itg' ., including devas
stating diseases, temperature stresses, and invasive species.
Deng's research involves the genetic sterilization of lan
tana to develop non invasive, drought tolerant, wildlife
attracting cultivars. His program has searched for sources
of desirable plant characteristics, developed large breeding
populations, and screened tens of thousands of progeny.
"I have been interested in the internship program for some
time, and after coordinating with the Plant City Campus,
I received applicants eager to become involved in breeding
research," Deng said. "It has been a great experience."
Over the six weeks, both Derrick and Raguckas commuted
to the site. Their internship focused on ornamental plants
and genetics. They were involved in a number of projects
and worked in a greenhouse, in a lab and out in the field.
"Mary and I were both interested in learning about plant
breeding and research," Raguckas said. "We heard about
the intern experience and chose to do scientific research."
t was a summer of discoveries for the student interns.
They discovered a passion for research, innovative
ways to overcome everyday problems, and even new,
exciting paths to venture down. And while their short six
week immersion into various research projects may be
Dr. Zhanao Deng (center), associate professor of environmental
horticulture, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, showing FAES
interns Mary Derrick (right) and Monica Raguckas the flowers of gerbera
daisy to be used for hand pollination. PHOTO BY PATTY MCCLAIN
Derrick and Raguckas worked with and learned from
Deng's two graduate students, David Czarnecki and Sarah
Smith. Czarnecki was excited to be a part of the process
and thinks such experience is really helpful for learning
about the kind of research a graduate student does.
"When I was an undergraduate, I didn't know what it was
like to be a grad student, so I hope I showed them a little
bit," Czarnecki said. "I worked in a lab some, but I didn't
really see the kind of work involved as a grad student. They
came in at a really good time. It took me three years to see
everything they got to see in one summer.
Raguckas worked on projects with Czarnecki and Smith
that included evaluating data and helping determine pollen
"It was interesting work, and I was really given insight into
research," Raguckas said.
Most of the work Derrick did was with lantana pollination
and learning how to take care of plants in a research situa
tion, including the everyday care of plants, recordkeeping,
and taking cuttings. The research process involved planting
new cultivars to identify new properties and comparing the
results with commercial varieties.
"We showed them the different aspects of breeding," Deng
said. "Mary even started her own research project with her
plants from beginning to end. She selected the materials,
designed an experiment, collected data. She got plants and
had a trial in ground as an expansion of her internship
research into an independent study."
Both Derrick and Raguckas agree the summer was a great
overall learning experience and that they will continue with
their interests in research.
"I think both of us will be going on to graduate school,"
Derrick said. "I'm now more interested in plant sci
ence than raising plants to sell at nurseries. This was a
really good way to get involved. It has been an invaluable
over, the students move forward with a firmer grasp on
the research process, a better understanding of what can
be accomplished through diligent work, and al i,,l into
the possibilities the future holds for them as students and
2009 RESEARCH REPORT
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 11
School of Forest Resources and Conservation researchers Drs.
Timothy Martin (left), associate professor; Wendell Cropper
(center), associate professor; and Rosvel Bracho (right),
postdoctoral associate, measure a longleaf pine tree on the
School's Austin Cary Memorial Forest near Waldo, Florida.
Research on the Austin Cary has quantified the impacts of
prescribed fire on forest carbon cycling.
Despite being a local source of carbon dioxide emis- SRC associate professor Wendell P. Cropper, Jr.;, as
sions, a common forest management tool likely tant professor Leda Kobziar; post doctoral research
allows more carbon to be captured than released Rosvel Bracho and former post doctoral researcher
across a region, new research finds. Gregory Starr also worked on the study. The research
was funded by the National Institute for Global
This finding is important, as capturing carbon has the was funded by the National institute for Global
Environmental Change, the National Institute for
potential to generate tens of billions of dollars in annual Environmental Change, the National institute for
Climatic Change Research and the U.S. Forest Servic
revenue for U.S. forest landowners. These landownersmatic Change Research and the U.S. Forest Servic
must balance the use of prescribed fire, a recommended
practice in many pine forests in the southeastern U.S., Postdoctoral research associate Rosvel Bracho uses a drip torch
with the need to transfer carbon dioxide from the atmo to ignite a prescribed fire on the School of Forest Resources and
Conservation's Austin Cary Memorial Forest. PHOTO BY LARRY
sphere into growing trees. KORHNAK
To better understand this dynamic, Tim Martin, anI I
associate professor of tree | 1, i..1.. i the School of
Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC), researched
the flow of carbon surrounding prescribed fires in the
Austin Cary Memorial Forest near Waldo, Fla. The
SFRC is part of the University of Florida's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Martin's research was a part of the Florida AmeriFlux
project that uses eddy covariance t... 1-. 1... to measure
the flow of carbon, water and ... .i to and from dif
ferent pine ecosystems in North Florida. Eddy covari
ance includes tools such as a sonic anemometer and an
12 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
infrared gas analyzer to measure wind speed and the
chemical composition of air. Martin combined this tech
.. iI, 1, ,. vest and weight data gathered from plant
material before and after prescribed fire to understand
how fire affects an ecosystem's carbon flow.
The researcher found that a prescribed fire in the forest
released anywhere from 9 to -4 metric tons of carbon
per hectare into the atmosphere. The burning of under
story shrubs, vegetation, dead needles and branches on
the ground largely contributed to the carbon release.
Additionally, the longer the time since the last burn, the
more carbon was released due to the accumulation of
extra plant material.
"On an annual basis, the release of carbon from pre
scribed burns is almost equal to the amount of carbon
sequestered by the ecosystem," Martin said. "In other
words, with frequent prescribed fire, the stand is still a
sink for carbon, but just barely."
Martin noted that although prescribed fires reduced
carbon accumulation in an individual pine forest, the
widespread use of the practice in a region likely will help
increase carbon accumulation by reducing the risk of
wildfires. Wildfires are fueled by underbrush and release
even more carbon than prescribed fires. The technique
also allows older trees to grow larger by eliminating
competing plants, and larger trees tend to capture more
carbon, Martin said.
ating raw oysters is under increased scrutiny, as
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants
dangerous Vibrio bacteria sometimes present
in the popular seafood reduced or eliminated. These
bacteria can cause sickness or even death when ingested,
especially in people with chronic diseases. But a
University of Florida researcher has discovered the fac
tors that help Vibrio bacteria colonize and contaminate
oysters, a finding which could lead to ways to make raw
oysters safer for human consumption.
Anita Wright, an associate professor in the food science
and human nutrition department of UF's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences, found that bacteria
are better able to infiltrate oyster tissue when they have
certain physical characteristics, such as capsular polysac
charides, pili and flagella.
These characteristics, known as virulence factors, aid
bacteria by protecting them from immune systems,
.11.. ,, them to anchor to surfaces and giving them
To discover the influence of these characteristics in con
taminating oysters, bacteria with the virulence factors
were compared to bacteria that had them removed by a
process called gene deletion.
In the study, which was funded by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and Florida Sea Grant, fresh oysters were
placed in saltwater tanks and treated with an antibiotic
to remove Vibrio already present. One oyster tank then
received bacteria with virulence factors, while the other
tank received those without. As many as -o1 million
Vibrio bacteria were inoculated in each tank. After a
24-hour incubation period, the number of bacteria pres
ent in each oyster was counted to determine how well
Ultra-low freezing is one of the current processes being used to
reduce Vibrio bacteria in oysters.
Dr. Anita Wright, associate professor, Department of Food Science
and Human Nutrition, uses molecular diagnostics for more rapid
detection of Vibrio pathogens.
they absorbed the bacteria. When the virulence factors
were absent, Wright found there was as much as a 90
percent decrease in the number of bacteria inside the
Collaborators on the research included Paul Gulig, a pro
fessor in the molecular genetics and microbiology depart
ment; Max Teplitski, an assistant professor in the soil
and water science department; postdoctoral researcher
Melissa Jones and graduate students Milan Srivastava,
Mike Hubbard and Rick Swain.
Wright hopes future research will lead to treatments to
eliminate virulence factor expression and stop Vibrio
colonization of oysters. These treatments could include
antimicrobial peptides produced by other bacteria, or
the use of small molecules that prevent the formation of
The FDA estimates that approximately lo00 of some
Vibrio bacteria per gram of oyster is a toxic level for
humans. Oysters are considered safe once levels are
reduced to 30 per gram, Wright said.
Since Vibrio bacteria are so common in oysters, Wright
said these virulence factors might not be what they seem.
"They probably did not evolve as virulence factors for
humans at all," Wright said. "They are more likely to be
adaptations that allow the bacteria to be better able to
colonize and survive in an oyster."
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 13
Victor Garrido (left), research programs coordinator and Dr.
Steve Otwell, professor, Department of Food Science and Human
Nutrition, display a container of raw oysters prepared through
exposure to the new FDA-approved irradiation process developed
by the University of Florida to reduce potential harmful bacteria.
New methods introduced by the University of
Florida have help prevent the shutdown of the
oyster industry by federal mandates, while
protecting public health.
The recent mandates impose strict limits on the number
of potentially harmful Vibrio bacteria, such as Vibrio
vulnificus, that are present in oysters intended for raw
consumption. Consumers also have issued their own
mandate by calling for safer raw oysters.
In response, Steve Otwell, a food science and human
nutrition professor with UF's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, and Victor Garrido, a research
coordinator, have helped implement innovative
14 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
processing methods to make raw oysters safer. This
assistance has allowed the industry to comply with fed
eral regulations and meet consumer demand.
The methods, frosting and irradiation, are easier and
less expensive to implement than post harvest processing
techniques currently available and are as effective.
"These options are the least costly choices," Otwell said.
"They suit our particular size and nature of industry."
Frosting freezes oysters in a minus-- o degree
Fahrenheit liquid nitrogen tunnel. Then, when the
oysters warm up to frozen storage temperature at o
degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting temperature different
tial initiates crystal growth in the cells of the bacteria.
Preliminary research showed through electron micro
graphs that the crystal growth kills the bacteria. In
addition to increased safety, frosted oysters have a longer
shelf life than fresh oysters and offer the convenience of
already being shucked.
For irradiation, the researchers developed a commercial
processing practice using gamma radiation to con
sistently eliminate Vibrio vulnificus bacteria without
changing the oysters' taste, texture or color. The method
allows processors to bring in pre-packaged oysters on
palettes, run them through gamma radiation and place
them back on a truck without ever having to open the
product. The reduced h:mii.lliiig decreases costs by saving
time and ,. : The state has a gamma irradiation facil
ity for food, one of the few in the country, i, I.i..' .
Irradiation offers an advantage over frosting and other
post-harvest processing methods because the oysters stay
alive through the processing, and the Vibrio bacteria still
are reduced to an undetectable level.
The researchers validated the procedures through
microbial analyses that showed a reduction of Vibrio
vulnificus in raw oysters to a level believed to be safe. In
agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services accepted the validations. The validations allow
the industry to label frosted or irradiated oysters as safe
for human consumption.
The Florida oyster industry implemented oyster freezing
in 2o00, and irradiation currently is being introduced to
the market. Florida Sea Grant and the U.S. Department
of Agriculture funded the research.
he good news: A University of Florida study has
shown that two expensive, publicly funded youth
programs are effective at raising test scores and
job earnings. The bad news: The same study found that
Hispanics and blacks do not benefit as much as whites.
Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, an assistant professor in UF's
food and resource economics department, performed the
research on the effectiveness of 4-H and Job Corps.
"Given the considerable resources devoted to these pro
grams, it is important to evaluate whether they accom
plish their intended goals," Flores-Lagunes said.
For Job Corps, the researcher examined the program on
a national, regional and state level. Job Corps is a feder
ally funded educational and vocational training program
for disadvantaged youth.
On a national level, Flores-Lagunes looked at why
Hispanics, in comparison to other groups, did not
receive higher weekly earnings four years after Job
Corps participation. This difference was first noted in a
national study of Job Corps commissioned by the U.S.
Department of Labor and published in 2001. Using that
data, Flores-Lagunes found that Hispanics, and blacks as
well, tend to live in places where there are more adverse
economic conditions relative to whites, and Job Corps
is not enough to overcome those ci'll:]l'dIg',. An implica
tion of this finding is that the effectiveness of publicly
funded training programs is highly dependent on the
overall condition of the economy, Flores-Lagunes said.
His research on Job Corps in the Southeast and Florida
was done in conjunction with Abu Mansoor, a master's
student. They discovered that for the Southeast, Job
Corps participation results in higher earnings per week
and ', 1,. i .1..,1.11.i of employment compared to the
nation. In Florida, these figures were nearly the same as
for the nation. The difference in the program's effective
ness may be due to differences in industry composition,
the researcher said.
For 4-H, Flores-Lagunes and doctoral student Troy
Timko investigated whether there is a causal rela
tionship between 4-H participation and scores on
Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension
Service, 4-H is a youth organization that teaches citizen
ship, leadership and life skills. The researchers collected
data on 4-H participation rates at grade and school
Dr. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, assistant professor, Department of
Food and Resource Economics.
district level from 2002 to 2008 from the Florida 4-H
office and merged it to the same grade and school district
level data on FCAT scores in math and reading from
the Florida Department of Education. After cin Uri llitig
for an assortment of observed and unobserved factors,
the researchers found that higher 4-H enrollment is
related to a statistically significant higher passing rate
in both math and reading and a statistically significant
higher average score in the reading subtest. The positive
economic impacts of these effects are currently being
"Even though 4-H doesn't have an explicit goal to
increase standardized test scores, 4-H impacts behaviors
that have been found to be related to higher test scores,
like interest for science and 1. .1 .. 1. .: healthy choices
and citizenship," Flores-Lagunes said.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 15
Fly control device inventors Dr. Philip Koehler (left), professor,
Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Ph.D. student
Joe Diclaro, holding their invention in front of a two-sided light
tunnel. The light tunnel was used to determine fly attraction to
colors of reflected light.
R researchers in the entomology and ,,. ,, ....1 ...
department of UF's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences have discovered a way to
trap flies that is more effective and may have applications
for the military and disaster relief efforts.
"The field data that we have is that it's probably a thou
sand times better than the fly traps currently available,"
said Philip Koehler, the professor who led the research,
which was funded by the Department of Defense's
Deployed War-fighter Protection research program.
Dr. Koehler's team included Joe Diclaro, a Ph.D. stu
dent from the U.S. Navy; Roberto Pereira, an associate
research scientist; and Jeff Hertz, a former graduate stu
dent from the U.S. Navy.
The new trap design discovery began when the research
ers noticed that flies would come to conventional fly
traps, but not necessarily go inside them and die. To
make the trap more effective, they decided to put the
insecticide, which is in the form of wool cord soaked
in pesticide, on the outside of the trap, so that the flies
would die without going inside the trap. The method
proved effective, and the researchers found that even in
the absence of a trapping device, the flies would come to
a cord, land on it and die.
16 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
To understand the flies' attraction to the cord, the
researchers decided to analyze the vision of a fly. In
conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Koehler's team employed electroretinograms to deter
mine what a fly sees. In this method, a tungsten probe
was inserted into the fly's eye, and the neurological
response of both the large eyes and the simple eyes was
measured to see which colors generated the strongest
reactions. In a separate but concurrent experiment,
Koehler's team set up two-sided light tunnels to create
a color-preference behavioral test. In this experiment, a
horizontal tube connected two lighr :,iiuc,': Flies crawl
up through a vertical center tube, and then when they
get to the connecting horizontal tube, they must decide
between a black side and a color side. The side with the
most flies was determined to be the most attractant.
The researchers eventually determined that blue was the
most attractant color.
Koehler's team then tested different colors of wool cord
and found that black wool cords combined with a blue
trap background were the most effective at luring and
S 1 1 Il l.
In addition to 11ii1i house flies, the trap lures and kills
I.1.. Il and the previously uncontrollable phorid flies.
It has been tested successfully in the U.S., Greece, Iraq,
Afghanistan and Mauritius. Places affected by natural
disasters, as well as military personnel at risk from
disease-carrying insects, could benefit in the future from
the new fly trap. The trap can be adapted to a variety of
shapes, from a collapsible, portable form to a flowerpot
design appropriate for a restaurant or home. A patent is
pending on the trap and worldwide distribution could
The fly control
for discreet fly
in homes and
research by the University of Florida's Tropical
Aquaculture Laboratory has revealed a new breed
ing method for puffer fish that may make more
ornamental fish available for retail and research markets.
The discovery came when laboratory director Craig
Watson began a project to successfully breed green
spotted puffer fish for the pet store market. Upon start
ing the study, Watson learned that previous attempts
to breed captive puffer fish -an animal often used in
genetic research -had failed.
"So we kept it in the back of our mind that it might be
an opportunity beyond; ", i 11i1. them to the big chain
fish stores but as a science animal," Watson said.
With the help of funding from the University of Florida
and fish provided by the Florida Tropical Fish Farms
Association, Watson eventually achieved a puffer fish
hatch by inventing a new technique called ovarian lavage.
Ovarian lavage works by using a catheter to flood puffer
fish ovaries with spawning hormones. The traditional
method of inducing a hatch involved injecting the hor
mones into muscle. However, with the elastic nature of
puffer fish skin, as well as their small size, needles trans
mitting the hormones were difficult to insert. Watson
decided bypassing the skin and going directly to the ova
ries with a catheter might work because he regularly used
a catheter to check the ovaries for ovulation readiness.
"And it did," Watson said. "It was just one of those
Farmers have been asking for ways to produce green
spotted puffer fish to meet growing consumer demand.
U.S. fish wholesalers import around 2o,000o green spot
ted puffer fish annually at a price of So cents to $- each,
First-ever picture of one-day-old green spotted puffer fish. At this age
they are about the size of a poppy seed.
Dr. Craig Watson, director, Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, holds
a mature, wild-captured puffer fish. Fish commonly sold in the
aquarium trade are less than half this size.
depending on size and availability. Large puffers can
demand up to $4 apiece, Watson said.
As a result of his invention, some Florida grown green
spotted puffer fish are now available in aquarium stores
around the country Researchers in Canada also are buy
ing farm-raised puffer fish from a Florida producer.
Watson said there are a large number of other fish that
are difficult to breed, and ovarian lavage may help them
reproduce in captivity. The researcher has since used the
technique on several types of fish and also is trying it on
different species of puffer.
"And I'm 111ii1 i,,.1 ,.11,,,1 two generations of our puffer
fish offspring," Watson said. "Which is a rather major
event whenever you're working with a new animal, to
have a domestic-produced brood stock."
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 17
Dr. Bruce Welt, associate professor, Department of Agricultural
and Biological Engineering, unwinds a multi-layer barrier film in
preparation for oxygen transmission rate analysis using his newly
developed unsteady state method.
Researchers in the agricultural and biological engi-
neering department of the University of Florida's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have
created an innovative new way to measure the amounts
of oxygen that move through product packaging. Oxygen
limits the shelf life of many products, so understanding
the gas transmission rate of packaging is critical.
The new measurement method uses what is known as
an unsteady state approach and is up to 95 percent less
expensive than the current, industry standard, steady
state method, said Bruce Welt, an associate professor.
Welt, along with graduate student Ayman Abdellatief,
developed the new method in the Packaging Science
"A major application for this is in respiring produce for
modified atmosphere packaging, but it could be used for
any product that is sensitive to oxygen," Welt said. Other
applications include beef, chicken, fish, cosmetics, medi
cal products or even motor oil.
Modified atmosphere packaging is an approach in pack
aging design that attempts to achieve a different atmo
sphere inside the package than ordinarily would exist.
With highly respiring produce, such as ready to-eat sal
ads, baby carrots, broccoli or apple slices, shelf life can
be extended when the level of oxygen inside the package
is reduced to an optimum level.
Welt began developing the new method after being
approached by the food packaging industry to design
a technique to measure oxygen transmission rates for
micro-perforated film. Because of the holes in the
film, the steady state method was f ,1,,i,' at recording
In both the steady and unsteady state methods, pack
aging film is mounted between two chambers. In the
unsteady state method, gas is introduced into one cham-
ber, escape valves are closed, gas permeates the film and
accumulates, creating an "unsteady state." In the steady
state method, gas is run continuously into both cham-
bers so that conditions remain constant with excess gas
escaping into the atmosphere. With perforated films, the
steady state method fails because gas streams through
holes with even the ,lil,. i differences in pressure.
Since the unsteady state method does not use constantly
flowing gas, streaming is not an issue.
The new method is more economical because it requires
much less gas to operate, the gas it uses is less expensive,
it has lower maintenance costs, and it requires less expert
tise. The new method also employs a fluorescent sensor
that does not consume oxygen during the measurement,
and therefore does not alter the experiment's condition.
Welt said the new method may lead to more ready-to-eat
healthy foods, longer shelf lives and higher quality prod
ucts. An exclusive .. . .reement is in the works with
a company that plans to produce equipment that uses the
technique. A patent is pending.
Prototype test apparatus used to develop the new unsteady state
18 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
researcher in the animal sciences department of
the University of Florida's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences has discovered a way to
decrease the cost of embryo transfer -a method proven
to increase fertility in heat-stressed dairy cows.
Fertility is important in the dairy industry because cows
must be fertile to conceive, give birth and produce milk.
Decreased fertility in the summer is a major concern
in Florida but also affects dairy farmers as far north as
Pete Hansen, a professor of environmental and repro
ductive | 1, i..1.. has found that eggs obtained from
harvesting ovaries at a slaughterhouse can be used in
"The advantage is it's cheaper, and we can produce
embryos on a large scale," Hansen said.
To improve the typically average genetic makeup of
slaughterhouse eggs, semen from a .li .11i bull can
be used 1. i Is 1 i, i i1 ,i.., One semen straw poten
tially can fertilize lo00 oocytes and out of those, perhaps
30 embryos will form.
Hansen also uses a new technique called "sexed semen"
that allows him to fertilize eggs with sperm that has
been sorted according to gender. The sperm is run
through a flow cytometer that differentiates between
X sperm and Y sperm. The Y sperm have slightly less
DNA because the Y chromosome is shorter than the X.
Got embryos? Aline Bonilla, Ph.D. student, prepares embryos for
transfer into cows.
Some of the members of the embryology team from the
Department of Animal Sciences in their native habitat (the Bovine
In Vitro Fertilization Laboratory). From left to right: Dr. Pete
Hansen, professor; Barbara Loureiro, doctoral student; Manabu
Ozawa, postdoctoral research associate; Sarah Fields, doctoral
student; Marc Charbel, undergraduate student; Justin Fear,
master's student; and Dr. Jim Moss, chemist.
As a result, the flow cytometer can determine how much
DNA each cell has as it goes by its sensors and then place
a charge on each cell. For instance, the X sperm may
receive a positive charge while the Y sperm receives a neg
ative charge. As the sperm pass electric fields, X sperm
go one way, and Y go the other way. Hansen said sexed
semen allows him to receive up to 85 and 90 percent
females from his embryos, and females have more value
to dairy farmers than do males. Hansen's novel use of
in vitro fertilization with slaughterhouse eggs and sexed
semen allows him to achieve better fertility and desirable
offspring at less cost when compared to other methods
Over the years, genetic selection has created cows that
produce more milk but have increased susceptibility to
heat stress. The more milk a cow produces, the more
heat it must release as part of its internal milk manu
facturing process. During hot and humid weather, extra
heat makes it difficult for a cow to maintain its body
temperature. As a result, hyperthermia can occur in high
producing cows at temperatures as low as 80 degrees
Fahrenheit, and fertility declines.
Embryo transfer places 7-day-old embryos into a cow at
an age when embryos can resist more heat stress. The
method bypasses a critical time when an embryo in the
womb can be damaged by even a 0.9 degree Fahrenheit
increase over normal body temperature. Embryo transfer
was .i I ..ii developed in -1989 by UF researchers Bill
Thatcher and Maarten Drost.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 19
Dr. Bala Rathinasabapathi, associate professor, Department of
Horticultural Sciences, examines Arabidopsis plants engineered to
express brake fern gene PvGrx5.
concerns about the negative impact of rising global
temperatures on crops have sparked interest in
plants better able to withstand heat. With this in
mind, University of Florida researchers have discovered
that a gene responsible for a plant's tolerance to arsenic
can also aid in the plant's heat tolerance.
Bala Rathinasabapathi, an associate professor in the
horticultural sciences department of UF's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences, made the discovery
after transferring genes from the Chinese brake fern
into Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant related to the mustard
family. The resulting organism, a genetically modified
Arabidopsis, expresses the Chinese brake fern gene,
PvGrx3. This gene codes for the protein glutaredoxin,
and inserting it in Arabidopsis made the plant better able
to tolerate high temperatures.
Rathinasabapathi uncovered the gene's characteristic
while working with Lena Ma, a professor in the soil
and water science department who first identified that
the Chinese brake fern can hyperaccumulate arsenic
from soil and is tolerant to the typically toxic element.
Rathinasabapathi hypothesized that genes involved in
the fern's tolerance to arsenic could be harnessed to build
crops that are tolerant to other stress factors, such as
high temperature. Since arsenic causes damage to the cell
20 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
similar to abiotic stress factors like high temperatures,
his reasoning was that some of the biochemical changes
occurring in the cell due to the stress could be similar
to those caused by high temperatures. The researcher
worked alongside Sabarinath Sundaram, a post doctoral
research associate. They used Arabidopsis as a model
plant for gene insertion because it is easy to use and has
one of the smallest plant genomes. A model plant is a
relatively simple organism that researchers use to under
stand other, more complicated plants.
Rathinasabapathi's discovery has implications beyond
increasing high temperature tolerance in Arabidopsis.
He is looking to insert PvGrx3 into rice in order to cre
ate varieties that could withstand high temperatures.
Additionally, the discovery opens the door to research
ways PvGrx3 could protect plants from other stress fac
tors, such as drought, as well as ways it might protect
plant proteins from damage.
"When we examined the proteins in the experiment
tal plants, they were less damaged by oxidative stress
than the proteins analyzed in the control plants,"
Rathinasabapathi said. "So this actually shows that the
gene may have a role in protecting proteins from stress
Oxidative damage occurs when a biological system can
not manage oxygen it encounters. Both high temperature
stress and drought cause oxidative damage. By over
expressing glutaredoxin in a plant, Rathinasabapathi
theorizes, many other proteins may be protected from
oxidative damage, thus helping the plant thrive under
Funding for the research was provided by a U.S.
Department of Agriculture Tropical and Subtropical
Agriculture Research grant and from the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station.
A frond of an arsenic-hyperaccumulating Chinese brake fern.
W th oil prices skyrocketing amid ever decreasing
supplies, finding new sources of i .
critically important. Now the discovery of
a naturally occurring bacterium could offer needed
improvements to producing an alternative fuel source
derived from plants -cellulosic ethanol.
The bacterium, a strain of 1'., i1.., /. tt species named
JDR-2, is able to break down a component of cell walls,
hemicellulose, without the use of heat or acid, to release
sugars that can be fermented into cellulosic ethanol.
Current bacteria in use cannot break down hemicellulose
and require thermal and chemical processing to release
fermentable sugars. Due to its abilities, JDR-2's discovery
may lead to more efficient and less costly cellulosic etha
The bacterium was discovered by researchers in the
University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences. Jim Preston, a professor in the microbiology
and cell science department; post doctoral researchers
Vi- 1... i Chow and Guang Nong, John Rice, a senior
biologist; and doctoral students Changhao Bi, Jason
Hurlbert and Franz St. John did the research.
They discovered the bacterium by analyzing wood from
sweetgum trees on Preston's tree farm in Micanopy, Fla.
Intrigued by the rapid decomposition of fallen sweetgum
wood, the researchers found an important contributor
to the process by cutting circular wafers from a living
sweetgum stem and burying them in the ground. Bacteria
capable of digesting the wood rapidly colonized the
wafers. The researchers removed the wafers from the soil
and ultrasonically treated them to release the bacteria.
Pure cultures of Paenibacillus JDR-2 then were obtained
by growing the bacteria in petri dishes.
Preston and his team also isolated the genes from JDR-2
that are responsible for the digestion of hemicellulose.
These genes may be moved into a bacterium that can
The common sweetgum, or alligator tree, here serves to support
Dr. Jim Preston, professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell
Science. Wood from the tree provided bacteria, seen as colonies
below, for biofuel production from resources abundant in Florida.
produce ethanol, or alternatively, JDR-2 may be bioen
gineered to produce ethanol. .. i h. ...11 enzymes pro
duced by JDR-2 could be isolated and utilized.
"That is the major discovery I think we made here,"
Preston said. "JDR-2 could be the next source of enzymes
and genes to try to make improved biocatalysts."
Biocatalysts are natural catalysts used to initiate chemi
cal changes in organic material. Strains of E. coli and
other bacteria currently serve as biocatalysts to convert
sugars into ethanol or into raw materials for bioplastics.
Cellulosic ethanol turns renewable plant material, such as
sugarcane bagasse and wood waste, as well as other .- i
crops, including ... : cane, poplar and eucalyptus, into
. i : Bagasse is a waste product from the sugar indus
try. All of these resources are prevalent in Florida.
Preston said applying the discoveries to improve cellulosic
ethanol processing efficiency involves ongoing collabora
tive efforts with IFAS faculty in his department as well as
with those in agronomy, agricultural engineering, forest
resources and conservation and in the Florida Center for
Renewable Fuels and Chemicals.
Grants from the U.S. Department of F -. the
Consortium for Plant Bi.... 1 ....1.. Research and from
the Florida F ... Systems Consortium funded the
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 21
The bobwhite quail researchers (left to right): Dr. Madan K. Oli,
associate professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and
Conservation; Tommy Hines, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (retired); Dr. H. Franklin Percival, Florida Cooperative
Wildlife Research Unit; and Dr. Virginie Rolland, associate
professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
obwhite quail populations have been in sharp
decline across the nation since the early '980s.
To help preserve the species and the economically
important sport of quail hunting, the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) funded a
study to find out why the birds' numbers were l1'clitiihg
in a popular Florida hunting area and how to reverse the
The study focused on the Cecil M. Webb Wildlife
Management Area, or Webb WMA, in Charlotte
County, Fla., and information gleaned from the research
can be used to help sustain bobwhite populations
The research team, consisting of Madan Oli, an associ
ate professor in the wildlife ecology and conservation
department of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences; \- sii'. Rolland, a post doctoral research asso
ciate; Franklin Percival, leader of the Florida Cooperative
Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Tommy Hines, a
retired FWC wildlife biologist; and retired University of
Tennessee professor Ralph Dimmick, discovered several
factors responsible for the decline and have formulated
recommendations for effective management. They found
that hunting at the current rate has a large negative
impact on bobwhite quail populations in the Webb man
agement area, especially during periods when rainfall is
heavy. Additionally, they noted that only a small fraction
of hatchlings survive to breed because they are harvested
during hunting season. Prescribed burning purposefully
clears away underbrush on the forest floor to enhance
forest quality by encouraging new growth. The practice
can help bobwhites by making room for potential food
plants to grow as long as some areas of underbrush are
left to provide nesting cover, the researchers said.
To better manage the quail, the researchers recom-
mended to the FWC that bobwhite hunting be scaled
back substantially to allow the population to recover.
They also recommended that hunting be reduced even
more during times of heavy rainfall. These recommend
dations could be implemented before the 200o hunting
The researchers discovered their findings by combining
long term field data with state-ofthe-art analysis and
Ilm,,'ligi g techniques. To gather the data, over 2,000
bobwhites were trapped and equipped with radios during
the study period. Using radio telemetry, the birds were
located every two to three days. Measurements of home
range, habitat use, nesting attempts, nesting success,
hatchability and predation rates were recorded. During
hunting season, the recovery rate of harvested, radio
equipped bobwhites was recorded. Back on campus, col
elected data on survival, reproduction, harvest, weather
and other factors allowed the researchers to draw conclu
sions about the 1,'clining population as well as develop
projection models. These models will allow wildlife
managers to predict population outcomes by simulating
different scenarios using combinations of rainfall levels,
harvesting pressure, temperature and more.
FWC officials will use the research data to make future
management decisions to bring back bobwhite quail
populations, Percival said.
Bobwhite quail nest with eggs.
22 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
With citrus greening disease threatening to
destroy Florida's nearly Sio billion citrus
industry, new research has discovered an
environment-friendly chemical to assist in 1. 11,,1 i the
University of Florida researchers Lukasz Stelinski and
Russell Rouseff found that a chemical produced by
guava trees is effective at:- 1 i I 1 the insect that trans
mits citrus greening. Ebenezer Onagbola, a postdoctoral
researcher, assisted with the research.
The Asian citrus psyllid transmits the bacterium
Liberibacter asiaticum by feeding on the leaves and stems
of citrus plants. Once the bacterium infects a citrus tree,
the taste of the fruit is altered, and the fruit never fully
ripen. Greening is fatal to citrus trees. In Florida, citrus
greening first was detected in a few counties in -1998 and
now is a statewide problem.
"It's certainly the most important disease affecting
citrus production in Florida," said Stelinski. "And most
thinkit's likely the most important disease affecting cit
rus production worldwide."
The discovery began when Rouseff, intrigued by
Vietnamese farmers planting guava trees between citrus
trees to repel Asian citrus psyllids, decided to find out
why the practice worked.
"When I started looking at the problem, I said 'It has to
be something that is not obvious,"' Rouseff said. "If it
was obvious, somebody else would have already seen it
and reported it."
As a food chemistry professor, Rouseff suspected that
equipment and techniques he used to analyze processed
citrus juice volatiles could be adopted to detect the
unknown repellent. By using an air i 11 1' device,
Asian citrus psyllid adults (Diaphorina citri), feeding on citrus.
Dr. Lukasz Stelinski, assistant professor of entomology and
nematology, Citrus Research and Education Center.
the researcher discovered that when guava leaves are
wounded, the plant releases new sulfur compounds,
including dimethyl disulfide. He then conferred with
Stelinski, an entomologist, who confirmed that dimethyl
disulfide can affect insects.
Stelinski then began looking at how the chemicals affect
Asian citrus psyllid behavior. Olfactometer mazes were
constructed to determine if the psyllid was attracted or
repelled by chemical scents pumped into different cor
riders. He proved that dimethyl disulfide and related
chemicals are potent repellents of Asian citrus psyllids,
even in the presence of citrus. These results led to the
development of a prototype formulation of the repellent,
which when used in field tests in citrus groves, con
firmed the laboratory results.
The new chemical repellent is an environment friendly
pesticide alternative. Lab data indicated the repellent
does not affect wasps that are beneficial in citrus groves.
Researchers are working to improve the duration of the
chemical because current formulations only are effect
tive for about three weeks. Stelinski said he hopes an
improved version of the repellent, which could be used
as part of an integrated approach to managing the Asian
citrus psyllid, will be released in the near future.
The State of Florida, the Florida citrus box tax and the
Florida Department of Citrus funded the research.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 23
Dr. Philip Lounibos, professor, Florida Medical Entomology
Laboratory (FMEL), examines water from an experimental tire
on the FMEL grounds for larvae and pupae of the Asian tiger
Recent research on mosquito ecology has discovered
factors that influence the transmission of a disease
that affects Florida and the world -dengue fever.
Induced by the dengue virus, dengue fever ....... II
afflicts nearly So million people worldwide, especially in
the tropics, and cases have appeared in Florida as recently
as November 2009. Symptoms include fever, headaches
and severe muscle andjoint pains.
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, and the yel
low fever mosquito, Aedes ,. 1'.i e are the most important
transmitters of dengue virus. For years, yellow fever mos
quitoes populated and threatened the U.S. as the main
transmitter of yellow fever and dengue. However, since
the accidental introduction and subsequent spread of the
Asian tiger mosquito into the Southeast in the mid- 980s,
yellow fever mosquito populations have decreased rapidly
"Lots of mechanisms were postulated to explain why the
arrival and spread ofAedes albopictus led to the demise of
Aedes ,..n,: but no c -n.',I'lli g evidence was available for
any one particular mechanism," said Philip Lounibos, a
professor at the University of Florida Medical Entomology
Laboratory (FMEL) in Vero Beach. The FMEL is a part of
UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Working with Illinois State University distinguished pro
fessor Steven Juliano, Lounibos found that competition
between the two species during the larval stage is a factor
24 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
in the displacement. The researchers showed that Asian
tiger mosquito larvae use habitat resources more success
fully and that the yellow fever mosquito larvae survive
poorly in their presence. The researchers studied the mos
quito larvae in aquatic containers such as water-filled tires
and cemetery vases that are commonly used by the species
Correctly identifying the more widespread species can
result in better prevention programs.
Lounibos found through research with Barry Alto, a for
mer FMEL graduate student, that larval competition also
results in mosquitoes becoming better hosts and transmit
ters, or vectors, of dengue. Past research never considered
competition as a factor, Lounibos said.
The researchers monitored larval competition between
the Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito
until adulthood. They recorded size measurements, time
to adulthood and survival. Adult females were given blood
meals containing dengue virus using a silicone membrane
feeder system. They were held for a -2-day incubation
period, and survivors were individually stored at minus
80 degrees Celsius. The researchers later examined the
mosquitoes to determine the amount of dengue virus
Mosquitoes that faced intense competition in the larval
stage were smaller and became better dengue vectors, the
researchers discovered. Alto and Lounibos hypothesized
that smaller mosquitoes emerged with fewer internal
defenses, such as a midgut barrier, which can help block
The findings could prompt future studies into the larval
environment's impact on the transmission of other vector
borne diseases such as malaria or filariasis, Lounibos said.
The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious
Diseases and the Fogarty International Center, both part
of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, funded the
A bloodfed female Aedes albopictus, now the most common day-
biting mosquito in much of Florida. PHOTO BY LE MUNSTERMANN,
C nrLlliilg a major Florida landscape pest may
become easier thanks to a recent discovery by a
University of Florida researcher.
Ronald Cave, an associate professor of entomology at
UF's Indian River Research and Education Center in
Fort Pierce, discovered a new species of lady beetle whose
specialty is feeding on cycad aulacaspis scales.
The cycad aulacaspis scale, which appeared in Florida
in -1996, infects the popular cycad tree and causes
unsightly damage to leaves. The insects usually appear
in large numbers, and infestations often kill the tree.
Current pest management strategies do not provide
Cycads are prized in urban landscapes for their unique
beauty and low maintenance requirements. Due to their
slow growth, large ones can become quite valuable.
Cave is now petitioning the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) to release the lady beetle for the biologi
cal control of the cycad aulacaspis scale. Approval could
take more than a year, Cave said.
An important component of petitioning for a biological
control release is determining what the organism eats.
To establish this, Cave and Ru Nguyen, an entomolo
gist with the Florida Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, conducted non-target studies using
many different organisms as potential food sources. In
the tests, lady beetles weren't fed for 24 hours. Then
they were placed in separate petri dishes, each containing
a potential prey organism such as an aphid, psyllid or
scale. The researchers found that by far, the lady beetle's
preferred food was armored scales, such as the cycad
aulacaspis scale. The study results indicate the new lady
beetle is host specific, meaning it only feeds on one type
of organism. This fact helps support the petition for
Adult Phaenochilus n. sp. feeding on cycad aulacaspis scales.
Dr. Ronald Cave, associate professor of entomology, examines
a cycad for Phaenochilus n. sp. in quarantine at the Indian River
Research and Education Center's Hayslip Biological Control
Research and Containment Laboratory.
"It's such a voracious predator of the scale," Cave said.
"Our problem in the lab was giving it enough food.
Sometimes we didn't have enough cycad scales to give all
the beetles all the food they need. Theyjust eat so many
scales and so quickly"
In 2007, Cave and Nguyen were looking for the scale's
natural enemies in cycads in Asian countries where
previous biological control agents had been found.
After searching through cycad plants in Thailand, the
researchers eventually found an orange lady beetle that
was feeding on cycad aulacaspis scales. They brought it
back to be reared in quarantine facilities in Fort Pierce
and Gainesville. They also sent specimens to the USDA's
Systematic Entomology Laboratory where the insect was
identified as being in the genus Phaenochilus and as an
Cave said the lady beetle could be used to control scales
in other countries, such as Guam, where the native cycad
is being devastated by the cycad aulacaspis scale.
The Indian River REC is part of UF's Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences. APHIS funded the research.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 25
Dr. Gary Knox, professor of environmental horticulture, North
Florida Research and Education Center, kneels behind the colorful
winter foliage of Firepower nandina, a dwarf type recently
discovered to be noninvasive in Florida.
Invasive organisms are typically nonnative species
that can disrupt local ecosystems. However, a new
study has found that a popular but invasive plant, the
nandina, actually has some noninvasive varieties -mak
ing them safe for Florida landscapes.
Gary Knox, an Extension specialist and environmental
horticulture professor at the North Florida Research and
Education Center in Quincy, researched the nandina's
invasive potential in Florida. He found that the varieties
Firepower and Harbour Dwarf, while part of the invasive
nandina genus, can be safely grown in landscapes and
sold by Florida nurseries.
Firepower earned its name because its leaves turn bril
liant shades of red and orange with yellow ,, I ,11 11,, .l
during cool winter temperatures. Harbour Dwarf is
so-called because it is a compact and dense version of a
regular nandina, with only about a third of the height.
Nandinas, valued in landscapes for their beauty and
toughness, are native to Asia.
C, ll:l', L:]ri tg with Knox on the research was Sandra
Wilson, an environmental horticulture associate profes
sor at the Indian River Research and Education Center
in Fort Pierce. The research and education centers are
part of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and
Working with funding from the Florida Department
of Environmental Protection and the Florida Nursery,
26 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
Growers and Landscape Association, the researchers
planted -A- varieties of nandinas in North and South
Florida to test the plants' likelihood to flower and pro
duce viable seed. These traits are important because
plants that produce more seed are more likely to escape
into the wild. The plants used were varieties common
to the nursery market. Researchers assessed the plants'
visual quality and growth throughout the two year
study After the plants flowered, seeds were collected,
and Wilson evaluated their viability and tested their
germination potential. Upon completing the study, the
researchers determined Firepower and Harbour Dwarf
were least likely to become problematic in the state due
to their low fruiting potential. The researchers also
noted differences in locations, as nandinas grown in the
South Florida climate bore less seed than those in North
"As it turns out, nandinas do not seem to be as invasive
in South Florida as they are in North Florida," Knox said.
The researchers used the Infraspecific Taxon Protocol,
a tool developed by UF/IFAS to evaluate invasiveness,
to guide their research. The protocol uses a series of
questions and answers to determine a plant's invasive
The study's findings allow homeowners, landscapers and
nursery owners to use Firepower and Harbour Dwarf
safely. The varieties will not escape into Florida's natural
areas and force the need for herbicide control, Knox said.
"It is very important to the function of our natural eco
systems to maintain the diversity of plants that we have
already," Knox said. "Introducing nonnative plants can
displace our natives, and we can end up losing some of
The standard type of nandina, shown here, is a nonnative ornamental
plant. Its bright red berries are eaten by wildlife, which spread the
plants into Florida's natural areas. UF research found that some new
types of nandina are not invasive.
he discovery of a new bacterium has led to a green
solution for cu, nr Illii lg microscopic roundworms
that damage golf course turfgrass.
The bacterium, Candidatus Pasteuria usgae, specifically
attacks and kills underground roundworms known as
sting nematodes. These worms feed on roots and lead to
plant discoloration, disease and often death. Sting nema
tode damage is a multimillion dollar problem for Florida
golf courses, and past control options have been limited,
expensive and toxic.
Robin Giblin-Davis, F. i f, ....1. professor and interim
associate director for UF's Fort Lauderdale Research and
Education Center, discovered the bacterium while sam
plit g golf course soil for nematodes.
"While I was doing survey work, in a few golf areas in
South Florida, there seemed to be something that was
attached to the sting nematodes," he said.
Giblin-Davis identified the organism as a new species
of bacterium. To do this, he used ultra-structural tech
niques in which nematodes displaying different bacte
rial infection stages were preserved and sectioned into
ultra-thin components. The researcher then stained the
organisms with heavy metals and viewed them through
an electron microscope to describe developmental, repro
ductive and physical characteristics. Through further
research, Giblin-Davis and his collaborators discovered
that the bacterium only infects sting nematodes and
must do so to complete its life cycle.
Giblin-Davis also tested the bacterium by inoculating
sting nematode infested golf courses. He documented
that a relatively small amount of soil inoculum reduced
sting nematode densities to low, and in some cases,
undetectable levels over a period of -13 to -8 months.
Scanning electron micrograph of a sting nematode male
(Belonolaimus longicaudatus) encumbered by the new pathogenic
bacterium, Candidatus Pasteuria usgae, named for the United States
'-,-_. -*1 r .- ., r ,
". ,. i "
Drs. Dorota Porazinska, courtesy assistant professor, and Robin
Giblin-Davis, professor, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education
Center, study roots of a plant damaged by microscopic plant-
parasitic nematodes (roundworms).
To produce the bacterium on a commercial scale, a
Gainesville-based company, Pasteuria Bioscience, Inc.,
developed a new mass cultivation method. The company
released the bacterium to the public in February 20o0 as
a product called Econemw. The product is a bio-nemati
cide that is an environmentally safe way to control sting
nematodes in turfgrass.
The researcher said unlike current treatments for sting
nematodes, the bionematicide can be reapplied if needed
and is not a risk to golfers or residents near courses.
"Up until now, the kinds of things we've had available
for control for nematodes, or mitigating the damage of
nematodes in turf ecosystems, have been relegated to
very toxic materials," Giblin-Davis said. "And with the
advent of this bionematicide, we are moving forward into
a greener environment."
The product is specific to treating sting nematodes and
does not attack other turfgrass pests such as lance nema
todes and root knot nematodes. However, Giblin-Davis
said current research into different Pasteuria bacteria
species may lead to future products for lance and root
The Fort Lauderdale REC is part of UF's Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The U.S. Golf
Association funded Giblin-Davis' research.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 27
Dr. Ann Blount, associate professor of agronomy, North Florida
Research and Education Center, displays UF-Riata during the
official IFAS release of the new grass during a program to honor
the late UF Extension agent Ed Finlayson, a pioneer in promoting
bahiagrass as a forage grass for the southern U.S.
With the development of a new bahiagrass
variety from the University of Florida, winter
pastures in the south are now greener!
UF-Riata offers increased yields and better cold toler
ance than other bahiagrasses. Current varieties in the
Southeast incur yield losses as available 1:r lli Air declines
in late fall and early spring. UF-Riata, however, contain
ues to grow as the days grow shorter, until a substantial
frost. While the major users of bahiagrass include the
beef and equine industries, grazing dairies are reevalu
ating the grass as a potential forage in their rotational
"In all our trials that we've done so far, UF-Riata will
give you a -o percent or greater increase in yield over
Tifton 9," says Ann Blount, the plant breeder who devel
UF-Riata also out yields the most popular bahiagrasses
in Florida -Pensacola and Argentine, Blount said.
i. 1 1.. 11 .11 the variety offers deep rooting and some
improved disease resistance to dollar spot.
Blount is a forage breeding and genetics associate pro
fessor at UF's North Florida Research and Education
Center in Marianna. Working with her on the project
were Thomas Sinclair, a crop physiologist in UF's
agronomy department, Paul Mislevy, professor emeritus
at UF's Range Cattle Research and Education Center
in Ona; and Ken Quesenberry, a plant breeding and
genetics professor and assistant chair of the agronomy
28 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
To develop UF-Riata, Blount started with bahiagrass
seed collected throughout the southern U.S. and from
populations from Dr. Glenn Burton, a USDA ARS sci
entist at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton,
UF researchers used relay breeding between two loca
tions in Florida to evaluate photoperiod and cold
response in the new population that they were select
ing. Cold tolerance testing was done in North Florida
at Marianna and winter growth was evaluated at Ona,
Florida. During the winter months when crossing is
done in the greenhouse, Blount used artificial light to
trick the plants into flowering as if it was summertime.
Selecting the top 20 percent of the plants each year and
only crossing the very best plants in the greenhouse
eventually lead to the final population, UF-Riata. The
University of Florida released UF-Riata in 2007. Seed is
now available for planting in the Southeastern U.S.
Blount cautions that pastures of UF Riata should be
rotationally grazed and that overgrazing is not recom
mended. UF-Riata, like Tifton 9, has a more upright
growth habit than Pensacola and if not properly man
aged under grazing, stand losses might occur.
"With UF-Riata, you get the benefit of increasing your
yield, but at the cost of not being able to abuse the plant,"
Blount said. "It takes more management, but basically
the management is the same as Tifton 9."
Blount said UF-Riata may be grown in subtropical
regions in the southeast U.S. and in other parts of the
world including Japan, India, Australia, Southern Brazil
The Research and Education Centers at Marianna and
Ona are part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural
Co-developer Dr. Ken Quesenberry, professor, Department of
Agronomy, teaches plant breeding students about the bahiagrass
research that led to the development of UF-Riata.
.. .' '.. .. .I
.., ;... I,, L u
consumers who love tomatoes may soon have a fla
vorful and nutritious new choice with the release
ofTasti-Leew by the University of Florida.
Tasti-Lee tomatoes offer excellent flavor, deep red inner
fruit and around 25 percent more of the healthy com
pound lycopene than ordinary varieties. Lycopene is an
antioxidant that may protect body cells from damage.
"I think the strength of the variety is the ability to
produce tomatoes with good flavor over a wide range of
environments," said JW. Scott, the plant breeder who
Scott is a horticultural sciences professor at UF's Gulf
Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma.
He bred Tasti-Leew to help field-tomato growers com
pete with greenhouse tomatoes in the supermarket.
Consumers often choose greenhouse tomatoes because
of their color, fresh appearance and perceived better taste.
Scott started development in the late -99os using a
tomato line that emerged from heat tolerance tests with
a noticeably sweet flavor. He recorded the line, known
as Florida 7907, as a potential parent for making better
Later, during trials to increase firmness, Scott found a
line, Florida 8 ... that had firmness and full flavor, two
traits not often found together. In 2002, Scott crossed
Florida 7907 and 8o09 and planted their hybrid off
spring. During variety trials, Scott found the hybrid had
superior flavor. Combining the best traits of its parents,
this variety would eventually be called Tasti-Leew, in
honor of Scott's late mother-in-law, whose name was Lee.
Display of branded Tasti-LeeTM tomatoes being sold at a Whole
Foods supermarket. It is hoped that the variety will be more widely
available in the near future.
Dr. J.W. Scott, professor of horticultural sciences, Gulf Coast
Research and Education Center, examines Tasti-LeeTM tomato crop
growing in a recent variety trial.
During the next four years, the variety went through
yield trials and seven taste panels.
"The variety came out consistently well, more consistent
than any variety I had seen before," Scott said. "So that
was kind of the stimulus to go ahead and release the
UF released Tasti-Leew in 2006, and seed is available
from its exclusive producer, Bejo Seeds, Inc.
Scott hopes the new variety will increase consumption
of Florida tomatoes and provide more market share for
the state's field-tomato producers. He said low germi-
nation issues in the seed gave the variety a slow start
shortly after its release, but by mid-o-io, there should
be plenty of high germinating seed available. Some Tasti
Lee" tomatoes grown by a Florida producer already have
appeared in Whole Food grocery stores in the state,
Collaborators who helped develop Tasti-Leew include
Liz Baldwin, a horticulturist with the U.S. Department
of Agriculture in Winter Haven; Jeff Brecht and Harry
Klee, a postharvest physiologist and a molecular biol
ogy professor in the horticultural sciences department,
respectively; Steve Olson, a horticultural sciences profes
sor at the North Florida Research and Education Center;
Jerry Bartz, a plant .1,..1... associate professor and
Charles Sims, a professor in the food science and human
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 29
Research Foundation Professors (UFRF)
ADEGBOLA ADESOGAN, PH.D.
Associate Professor of Animal Sciences
Adegbola Adesogan is ., ..... i I! .....- -. I
ruminant nutritionist whose basic and applied research
efforts have focused on using forages and feed addi-
tives to improve the quality, safety and shelf life of ani
mal feeds and the efficiency of livestock production.
His research has focused on using fibrolytic enzymes
to improve highly productive but poorly digested tropi
cal grasses in Florida and several tropical/subtropical
countries. Adesogan showed that application of a
certain fibrolytic enzyme to tropical grasses during
haymaking improved their intake and digestion by beef
cattle substantially. The enzyme treatment proved to
be as effective as ammoniation, the conventional treat
ment method, but was less hazardous and environment
A second major research area developed by Adesogan
involves using bacterial inoculants to improve the
fermentation, quality and shelf life of fermented
animal feeds (silages). Adesogan's early work showed
that although Lactobacillus buchneri could be used to
improve the shelf life of silages and prevent the growth
ofmycotoxin-producing molds, it also resulted in
nutrient losses. Subsequent experiments showed that
the addition of homolactic bacteria to L. buchneri in
inoculants prevented the nutrient losses while main
training the beneficial effects on shelf life and mold
inhibition. These studies culminated in the commer
cialization of microbial inoculant preparations that are
now marketed in U.S. and Europe for preservation of
fermented animal feeds.
Because of his work, he has been an invited speaker
at various national and international conferences and
over -o researchers from Egypt, Jamaica, Ni I .
Peru, South Korea, and Guyana have visited his labor
tory for short term training in the last five years.
Adesogan's research program was recognized by the
American Dairy Science Association with his receipt of
the 200o American Dairy Science Association Pioneer
Hi-Bred International Inc. Forage Award for signifi
cant research contribution in the areas of forage pro
duction, processing, storage, and utilization.
EMILIO M. BRUNA, PH.D.
Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Emilio Bruna strives to understand the impact of
human activities on tropical ecosystems. Much of
his works conducted in the Amazonian rain forest
and the Brazilian savannas known as the Cerrado.
Understanding the inherent complexity of these eco
systems and investigating the consequences of the
myriad threats they face requires creative, multidisci
plinary and collaborative approaches.
Many studies have found that plant species go extinct
in the fragments of forest that r, .. .1. I .11. ,. defor
station. Although the mechanisms responsible for
these extinctions are usually unknown, reductions in
.. 111,,1 establishment are thought to be among the
most important. Bruna and his collaborators found
that reduced recruitment could indeed lead to popular
tion declines. However, they also found that elevated
seed dispersal by birds into forest fragments appeared
to help populations overcome the negative conse
quences of isolation. With support from the National
Science Foundation, Bruna and his colleagues are
integrating detailed data on plant reproduction, the
diet and movements of birds, and genetic paternity
analyses. They expect their research will help resolve
whether . 111,,' abundance is limited by the avail
ability of suitable habitat or the abundance of seed
The combustion of fossil fuels and the application of
chemical fertilizers have more than doubled the quan
tity of nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems. This increase
can have profound consequences for ecosystems, but
how it influences plant populations remains unknown.
With support from NSF and the Packard Foundation,
Bruna and his collaborators are investigating how
nitrogen enhancement influences plant populations
and communities in the Cerrado. Furthermore, anthro
pogenic nitrogen deposition is widely recognized as an
emerging threat to ecosystems throughout the develop
ing world -one that is likely to worsen as the global
demand for biofuels increases. Because the Cerrado is
an increasingly important producer of sugarcane used
for ethanol, this workwill also have important implica
tions for conservation in this region.
30 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
JEAN-PIERRE EMOND, PH.D.
Professor of Agricultural and Biological
Jean-Pierre Emond's research in areas such as package
ing, cold chain management and tracking technologies
and transportation modes are essential to ensuring the
quality and safety of food and pharmaceutical prod
ucts. In the last five years, Emond has secured more
than $8.5M in research,which has funded -6 gradu
ate students, six of them at the Ph.D. level. He has
published 23 articles and book chapters and has been
an invited speaker at more than 30 local, national and
Currently, Emond is the Principal Scientific Advisor
for the International Cool Chain Association (CCA)
and International Air Transport Association (IATA),
an organization including 97 percent of all airlines.
He is also the Principal Scientific Supervisor for the
Canadian government and Food Mail, a program
that provides the transportation of nutritious food to
70,000ooo people in 80 communities across the Northern
and Arctic regions of Canada.
As the Founder and Director of the Food and
Pharmaceutical Products RFID Laboratory, Emond
supervises projects l,':dling with everything from the
tracking of foods being shipped to retail stores to
monitoring temperatures of pharmaceutical products
via satellite. He is a founding member of the Global
RF Lab Alliance (GRFLA), which collaborates with the
top -o1 RFID labs in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He is
also a founding member of the editing board for the
International Journal of RF Technologies: Research
and Applications. Currently, he is leading the RFID
sector of a $4.-M project with the U.S. Department
of Defense to monitor the supply chain of military
rations using RFID.
Among Emond's other accomplishments are co
founding the University of Florida/IFAS Center for
Food Distribution and I. i ,11 (CFDR), and hosting
the University of Florida Academic Pharmaceutical
Cold Chain Conference, which brings together leading
pharmaceutical companies to learn the newest break
through in cold chain management.
ZHENLI L. HE, PH.D.
Associate Professor of Soil and Water Science
The development of agriculture in harmony with the
environment is the continuing research goal of Zhenli
He. Agriculture is the chief suspected nonpoint pol
lution source leading to the eutrophication of surface
water and the degradation of native ecosystems in
Florida. Fertilizer applications and irrigation used
to achieve desired crop yields and fruit quality often
result in the runoff and leaching of unused nutrients
Therefore, research is needed to develop scientifically
sustainable agriculture practices that also protect our
environment. It is essential that we minimize the
transport of nutrients, heavy metals, and pesticides
from land to waters, using phytoremediation inte
grated with natural and man-made wetlands to filter
nutrients or contaminants in stormwater before it is
discharged to surface water systems. He has worked
closely with federal and state agencies and industry
to develop such technologies. The phosphorus slow
release fertilizers He developed by combining dolomite
phosphate rock, a waste from phosphate mining, with
sewage sludge (biosolids) can meet phosphorus (P)
requirements for crops while significantly reducing P
loss in surface runoff
He's studies also demonstrate that Ca water treatment
residuals (Ca WTR) are useful in acidic soils to reduce
P loading in surface runoff while improving crop yield
and quality By using Ca WTR, which is clean and
safe, instead of limestone, growers can reduce produce
tion costs, water their crops, and minimize disposal
He's research has also developed new phytoremediation
technologies for water detention systems and storm
water treatment areas. Results indicate that water let
tuce can be useful in remediating eutrophic water in a
confined environment, such as a detention system, as
it can remove both nutrients (N, P) and contaminants
such as heavy metals and pesticides.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 31
Research Foundation Professors (UFRF)
ANDREW V. OGRAM, PH.D.
Professor of Soil and Water Science
Andrew Ogram's research is focused on understanding
how ecosystems respond to human impacts through
changes in the structure and function of soil microbial
communities. The work produced by his laboratory has
transformed current concepts of the ways that south
ern wetlands function and how they differ from other
Ogram's contributions to the study of microbial con
trols on wetland biogeochemistry have been recognized
internationally and locally. He has been invited to
present his work at several international conferences
and has delivered a keynote lecture at the International
Association of Landscape Ecology. He has organized
symposia on microbial ecology at international ecology
and biogeochemistry conferences in Europe and the
U.S., and has presented lectures in the U.S., Europe
Ogram has served on review panels for the National
Science Foundation, the Water Environment
Research Foundation, and the U.S. Department of
F-. i His contributions to the American Society
for Mi. ..l.i..1..: (ASM) include membership on
the editorial board of Applied and Environmental
Microbiology, and he convened and chaired a sym
posium on alternative routes to methanogenesis at
the 2008 General Meeting of the ASM. He has been
awarded two ASM Indo-U.S. Professorships for orga
nizing and conducting short courses with Indian col
leagues. In addition, he is a member of the editorial
board of one of the premier methods journal in his
field, Journal of Microbiological Methods.
Ogram is committed to education and mentoring
students, who have received departmental awards for
excellence in graduate studies at both the Ph.D. and
M.S. levels. He has been active in international educa
tion, and is currently mentoring one of the first three
University of Florida distance education graduate
students in Africa. His students and postdocs have
excelled since leaving the University of Florida, serving
on the faculties of universities in the U.S. and abroad.
NAN-YAO SU, PH.D.
Professor of Entomology and Nematology
Nan Yao Su is recognized internationally as an
authority on termites and is known for his innovative
approach to the management of their population. He
has authored and co-authored over 180 peer-reviewed
articles on termite biology and control. His research
results on the population ecology of subterranean ter
mites and slow acting toxicants led to the development
of a monitoring-baiting system for termite population
control. Commercialized as the Sentricon system,
it has been marketed in 18 countries since -199j to
protect over two million homes, and is widely used in
The Sentricon system received the Presidential Green
Chemistry Chl:ll'iig' Award by the U.S.Environmental
Protection Agency in 2000. Su has also served as a
consultant for the Hong Kong government to draft
control guiii.llin'li for termite control, as an advisory
member for the Termite Forum of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand, and is cur
rently the chief technical advisor for the Chinese
Environmental Protection Agency. For his achieve
ments, he received the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's
Honor Award for Individual Achievement in Research
in -1996 and the Urban Entomology Award by the
Entomological Society of America in 200oo. In 2007,
he was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of the
Year by the University of Hawaii, and was elected a
Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. He is
the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award
in Urban Entomology 2008. In 2009, he established
the Nan Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in
Entomology of the Entomological Society of America.
Since the development of the Sentricon system, Su's
research has focused on more fundamental aspects
of termite behaviors. Recognizing the key to better
control strategies lies in the understanding of termite
foraging behavior, he has conducted a series of studies
to examine the characteristic branching geometry of
termite t lii' t li t'g structures.
32 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Awardees
e hold our future in the ,. . commitment and dreams of our
youngest faculty. To honor them, UF/IFAS presented the second
annual Richard L. Jones Outstanding New Faculty Research Award
at the May 42, 2oo9 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Awards cer
emony. This competitive research award is presented to untenured faculty who
have begun developing a distinguished record of research. The purpose of this
award is to recognize research program development and recent contributions,
and to provide incentives for continued excellence in research.
DR. RICHARD JONES served as Dean for Research from -199j to 2004. In
recognition of his outstanding service to the Experiment Station and to UF/
IFAS, the award was endowed and initiated in his name. This year's awardees
were Dr. Matias Kirst and Dr. Kati W. I, .. ..
DR. MATIAS KIRST is an assistant professor in the School of Forest
Resources and Conservation. Kirst represents the leading edge of UF/IFAS
DR. RICHARD JONES research in natural resources a critical area where UF/IFAS science makes a
difference. He's garnered nearly $4 million in grants, currently mentors four
graduate students and a post doc, and has published in prestigious journals
such as Genetics, the Journal of Heredity and Science. His comprehensive
research program is off to a strong and productive start.
His research areas include:
Quantitative genetics and tree breeding
Genomics of tree species
Genomic .. 1....... ...and analysis methods
Some recent projects:
Genomic mechanisms of carbon allocation and partitioning in poplar.
Association genetics of natural genetic diversity and complex traits in pine.
Genes for more efficient land use and conversion of forest trees into wood
Genetic diversity contribution to errors in short, ligi, u ,cl,, Ari.l1, microarray
DR. KATI MIG LIACCIO is an assistant professor in the Department of
DR. MATIAS KIRST Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Located at the Tropical Research
and Education Center in Homestead, -I :11 .. ,- I- 's water sciences research
program is off to an excellent start with five graduate students and over half
a million dollars in grants. She has published in prestigious journals such
as Water Resources Research, Hydrologic Engineering and the Journal of
Some of her research areas include:
GIS and watershed m,,1, lii g
Some recent projects:
Characterization and analysis of water quality data in the Indian River
Assessment of water savings using soil moisture sensors in residential areas.
Biscayne Bay watershed water quality analysis.
Spatial distributions and stochastic parameter influences in SWAT flow and
DR. KATI MIGLIACCIO sedimentpredictions.
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 33
IFAS Patents and Licenses
U OTL Invention Disclosure
U FFSP Cultivar Releases
FsaYer I InetoFPCla TOA
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
IFAS U.S. Patents Issued
OTL Invention Disclosure
sFFSP Plant PatentsPVPs/TMs Issued
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2001 15 6 21
2002 16 8 24
2003 12 10 22
2004 10 12 22
2005 12 5 17
2006 63 10 73
2007 30 2 32
2008 10 5 15
2009 7 13 20
JOHN C. BEUTTENMULLER Assistant Director, Research Programs
U j i j ,. 1,, 1 ,, l l ,,, l. . I . ,,L ,,n l ... I I, .. . ,l I . . .. ,, i. I,,,
C. Beuttenmuller, Germplasm Manager for the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Station (FAES) and the Intellectual Property and Licensing Director for Florida
Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), is responsible for the marketing and liii-.:ing of
all germplasm discovered and developed in the experiment station. FFSP and UF's Office
ofT 1,,,..1... and Licensing (OTL) facilitate invention and t. 1 ] ..... 1.. : I to the
agriculture industry The majority of plant germplasm and inventions developed at UF/
IFAS are protected through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and/or the USDA's Plant
Variety Protection Office. All U.S. plant patents, plant variety protection certificates, and
international plant breeder's rights certificates are managed and licensed by FFSP using an
Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process. All U.S. utility patents are managed and licensed by
OTL. FFSP and OTL work collaboratively in the management of inventions that are licensed
under multiple forms of intellectual property protection.
Over the past year, FAES has released 33 plant cultivars, and OTL reported 33 invention dis
closures from UF/IFAS faculty. IFAS revenue from licensed inventions was over $6.- million
2009 RESEARCH REPORT
License Agreements IFAS Technologies
SFFSP Cultivar Licenses
Fiscal Year OnTL CultBi-vars BTOTAL
Licenses L-^^^icensed ^^^^
License Revenues IFAS Technologies
SOTL IFAS Income
Sa FFSP IFAS License Income
in 2008-2009 and over $26.6 million in the past five
years. IFAS research programs continue to benefit and
grow because oft.. 1..1.... transfer with private/com-
mercial company partners.
FAES has been extraordinarily successful in directing
and maintaining world-class plant breeding programs
in support of Florida agriculture. Much of this success
can be attributed to the financial support which FAES
breeding programs receive from FFSP's l ii .:i g of
released cultivars. FAES is proud to maintain one of
the most aggressive reinvestment programs for royalties
generated from cultivars released by FAES, with 7o per
cent of revenues going back to the developing breeding
program. The FAES strawberry breeding program, under
the direction of Dr. Craig Chandler, has developed new
strawberry varieties that have fueled the expansion of
the Florida strawberry industry and have allowed Florida
strawberry growers to remain competitive in a global
marketplace. As a result of the commercial success of
strawberry varieties developed by Dr. Chandler, lihit ing
revenues provided by FFSP back to the FAES strawberry
breeding program have allowed Dr. Chandler to run an
active, multifaceted research and development program.
"Without the regular stream of royalties into the straw
berry breeding program, there would not be a continuing
output of new cultivars," says Dr. Chandler. "The o7
percent royalty distribution has been absolutely essential
to my success and that of the FAES strawberry breeding
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 35
....................................................................... ... ..... ...
TOTAL V1 Run 41030N ift.l. 1 1. 4 . B.:
Director's Financial Report
EXPENDITURES BY SOURCE OF FUND
State Fiscal Year 2008-2009
(NOTE This is not an accounting document)
Other Sponsored Funds
State Agency Funds /
Other State Funds'
Federal Formula Funds
Total Source of Funds
Federal Formula Funds
IFAS Smith Lever
State General Revenue
Federal Agency Funds
Federal Flow Through -
State of Florida Agencies
National Aeronautics and Space
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Interior
U.S. Environmental Protection
All Other Federal Agencies
State Agency Funds
Florida Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services (FDACS)
Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC)
Florida Department of Environmental
-$3.74M Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Fish and Wildlife
All Other State Agencies
Other State Funds
Water Management Districts
Other Sponsored Funds
University of Florida Research
36 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
Source of Funds
Research Awards FY 2008-2009
SUMMARY OF IFAS-SPONSORED RESEARCH ACTIVITY
IFAS Sponsored Research Awards by Unit
$2.M 2 Other Units
Academic Departments -$60.43M; 67%
Agricultural and Biological Engineering $3.98M
Agricultural Education and Communication $0.04M
Animal Science $0.87M
Aquatic and Invasive Plants $1.22M
Entomology and Nematology $2.67M
Environmental Horticulture $1.28M
Family Youth and Community Sciences $8.48M
Food and Resource Economics $0.84M
Food Science and Human Nutrition $5.00M
Forest Resources and Conservation $6.24M
Horticultural Sciences $10.24M
Microbiology and Cell Science $8.12M
Plant Pathology $2.53M
Soil and Water Sciences $3.18M
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation $3.08M
Research and Education Centers -$25.67M; 28%
Florida Medical Entomology Lab $0.96M
Ft. Lauderdale $1.42M
Gulf Coast $1.38M
Indian River $3.56M
Mid Florida $0.68M
North Florida $2.01M
Range Cattle $0.27M
Southwest Florida $1.88M
West Florida $0.21 M
Other Units ~$5.16M; 5%
Total Research Awards for FY 08-09
IFAS Research Awards by Sponsor
ical & Regional
~$8 17M, 9%
~$1 03M, 1%
$4 10M, 4%
~$4 43M, 5%
$1 03M, 1%
Federal Awards by Agency ~$47.40M, 52%
National Aeronautics and Space Administration $0.99M
National Science Foundation $4.15M
U.S. Department of Agriculture $22.74M
U.S. Department of Commerce $1.54M
U.S. Department of Defense $5.67M
U.S. Department of Energy $1.73M
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $4.62M
U.S. Department of Interior $2.71M
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $2.54M
Other Federal Agencies -$0.71M
IFAS Sponsored Research Awards
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 37
Research and Education Network
Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Agricultural Education and Communication
Entomology and N. i 1! >11 "
Family, Youth and Community Sciences
Food and Resource Economics
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Microbiology and Cell Science
Soil and Water Science
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
School of Natural Resources and Environment
Research and Outreach/Extension
GRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAMS
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology
Animal Molecular and Cellular Biology
Agricultural Law Center
Carbon Resources Science Center
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Center for Cooperative Agricultural Programs I 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
F ,. i Extension Service
The Florida Climate Institute
Florida Organics Recycling Center for Excellence I 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 I T-SIAR
UF Juice and Beverage Center
UF Herbarium I FLAS
Wedgworth Leadership Institute for
Agriculture and Natural Resources
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
College ofVeterinary Medicine
38 2009 RESEARCH REPORT
OFF-CAMPUS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTERS 7
1 Cirlll lC I LA [ ALFR[E
2 I I\-'1..I,-, I C I BELLE GLADE 1
3 I loi i \I-dic.il I Inr> Il \ I vERIIBEA|IH 18 5 53
4 I oir I .iiid,-id.iI,- Rl C I F11R LAIIDERDALE 9 3
5 6C.iltlCoa.ir IR C I WIMAIIMA PLANII:IIY 6
6 1indi.11IIn i I\ >'i IC FIURIPIERCE
7 lM i- i i d11 .i I\ Ic I APiPKA 2
8 No r l I I 1 .1i i i I C I LlvE IlAk MARIANNA iIIINl:Y
9 1.ii l %i- C.irl,- RI C I INA 10
10 ', r I, m r-, I 1, C % I IMM1 IkA[EE
11 Il"i ..i' kI C I HIIMESIEAD
12 \\ 1-,r I i di I C I JAY MILIIN
JOINT RESEARCH CENTERS WITH ARS
13 Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (USDA-ARS) I BROOKSVILLE
RESEARCH AND DEMONSTRATION SITES
14 Austin Cary Memorial Forest
15 Florida Partnership for Water, Agricultural and Community Sustainability I HASTINGS
16 Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS)
17 Plant Science Research and Education Unit I CITRA
18 Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory I RUSKIN
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION 39
UF UNIVERSITY of
PRUDIJCED BY IFAS INFHRMATIIN AND CIIMMIINICAIIIIN SERVICES I FLIIRIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT SIATIIIN
INSIRIIIrE IIF F10uD AND AGRICIIIIIRAL SCIENCES I IINIVERSIIY IIF FLIIRIDA
. II I