Three UC Davis researchers will receive grants from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture for projects to benefit the California specialty-crop industry, according to a UC Davis news release issued yesterday.
The new grants are:
- $2.6 million to study the use of sensors for precision canopy and water management of specialty crops. The lead researcher is professor of biological and agricultural engineering Shrini Upadhyaya, a precision farming expert.
- $2.5 million to develop improved lettuce varieties. The research team, led by Richard Michelmore, director of the UC Davis Genome Center, will explore the genetic basis of horticulturally important traits in lettuce.
- $1.5 million to study the recurrent migration of Verticillium dahliae, a soilborne fungus that causes plant diseases. Researchers will investigate the relationship between international and interstate seed trade and spread of the fungus, as well as the risks of transmitting diseases and causing soil infestations by planting infected spinach and lettuce seed. The lead researcher is plant pathologist and Cooperative Extension specialist Krishna Subbarao. The Salinas Californian ran a story about the project last week.