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National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week: Jan. 9-15

Nifa Author
Lori Tyler Gula, Senior Public Affairs Specialist

For the 2020-2021 season, citrus utilized production for the 2020-21 season totaled 6.90 million tons, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. During National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week, we’re highlighting partners that are conducing critical citrus research and outreach with support from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Penn State University and USDA scientists have used cutting-edge CRISPR/Cas technology to develop a diagnostic test that could enable early diagnosis of Huanglongbing (HBL) or citrus greening, a serious disease that threatens worldwide citrus production, which is valued at roughly $17 billion from the sale of fresh fruit and juices. Learn more.

University of California Riverside scientists and their collaborators from Texas A&M University, University of Florida, Washington State University and USDA are betting an ancient solution will solve this same disease by breeding new fruits with natural resistance to HBL. The hybrid fruits will ideally share the best of their parents’ attributes: the tastiness of the best citrus and the resistance to HLB. Eight years ago, lead botanist Chandrika Ramadugu helped identify microcitrus varieties with natural resistance to HLB. A $4.67 million grant from NIFA will allow these scientists to continue this critical citrus breeding research. Learn more.

In Puerto Rico, the citrus industry is valued at $4.25 million. The first reports of HBL in Puerto Rico came in 2009. The University of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Extension Service are working closely with growers to help them adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to manage HBL through hands-on training and the development of a demonstrational farm. To date, the Puerto Rico project has held numerous IPM training workshops for HBL management with field demonstrations. Among those who have benefitted from these trainings include citrus farmers, Extension agents, USDA agronomists, Natural Resources Conservation Service technicians, and agronomists visiting from Italy. Learn more.

As we enjoy our fresh squeezed juice this week, we recognize the important research and outreach being conducted by our Land-grant University partners.

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