- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The Citrus Research Board and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources have established a $1 million endowment to fund the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. The endowed researcher will provide a UC Cooperative Extension scientist a dedicated source of funds to support scholarly activities focused on the long-term sustainability of the citrus industry.
“I wish to thank the Citrus Research Board for establishing the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at LREC endowment,” said UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston. “This gift, coupled with the $500,000 match from the UC Office of the President, will help to ensure the long-term success of exemplary research focused on the California citrus industry.”
UC President Janet Napolitano provided half the funds for the endowed researcher; the CRB donated the other half.
“We are gratified that President Napolitano has selected the CRB for this prestigious match program,” said CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer. “It will be invaluable in helping us to pursue critical research that will yield beneficial findings to support the sustainability of the California citrus industry.”
The new endowment supports the UC Citrus Clonal Protection Program, which distributes pathogen-tested, true-to-type citrus budwood to nurseries, farmers and the public to propagate citrus trees for commercial and personal use. The CCPP maintains blocks of trees that serve as the primary source of budwood for all important fruit and rootstock varieties for California's citrus industry and researchers.
The CCPP is a cooperative program between UC ANR, CRB, the California Citrus Nursery Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. CCPP director Georgios Vidalakis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in plant pathology at UC Riverside, shared his appreciation for the efforts that led to the creation of the new endowed researcher position.
“My thanks to the citrus growers for their decades-long support, especially the members of the CCPP committee of the CRB for their vision, and UC's Greg Gibbs for coordinating all of the efforts,” he said. Vidalakis also praised Lindcove director Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell “for making the case to our growers about the importance of this endowment and for making plans to house the UC ANR endowment at the LREC.”
A selection committee will award the endowment to a distinguished UC ANR academic. An annual payout will be used to provide salary, graduate student and/or program support. The researcher will be named for a five-year term. At the end of that period, the appointment will be reviewed and either renewed or taken back to a selection committee to choose another UC ANR academic.
“I would like to thank the CRB for this generous gift and their continued support of our research for CCPP at the LREC,” said UC ANR Director of Major Gifts Greg Gibbs.
The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the state's citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.
The Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection is the fifth $1 million UC ANR endowment to support California agriculture. The other endowments are:
- UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics, formed with the California Pistachio Research Board in October 2015
- UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations, formed with the California Pistachio Research Board in October 2015
- UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for California Grown Rice, formed with the California Rice Research Board in September 2016
- UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Agricultural Education in Orange County, formed with the Orange County Farm Bureau in October 2017
- Posted By: Jeannette E. Warnert
- Written by: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 646-6074, firstname.lastname@example.org
Typical fruit grading equipment determines fruit size, count and grade. The Compac InVision 5000c has three lighting systems – fluorescent, ultraviolet and near infrared – plus a weigh bridge that together measure fruit dimensions, weight, color, and blemishes from insect damage, scarring and sunburn. Without spoiling the fruit, the grader also determines its sweetness and assesses internal damage. The new line can handle citrus fruit sizes ranging from a small mandarin up to a grapefruit.
“This equipment will give our researchers much more precise information for making comparisons,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, director of the Lindcove REC. “Our old packing line could tell us an overall color of the fruit. The Compac grader precisely defines how much of the surface area is green, yellow and orange.”
Highly advanced software works in conjunction with the equipment, recording measurements and a series of photographs – color and ultraviolet – for each individual fruit, allowing scientists to run correlations between all the parameters.
“We can determine which rootstock and scion combinations give the perfect size, sweetest taste and best ripening fruit,” Grafton-Cardwell said. “We will be able to train the software to recognize various types of pest damage – such as damage from katydids and citrus peelminer – and demonstrate which pesticides best protect the fruit from damage.”
In the past, labor costs limited researchers to gathering such detailed information from only a small sample of fruit on certain trees. With the new Compac grader, all the fruit from particular trees can be thoroughly assessed.
Another benefit of the upgraded equipment is its light-touch. The machine can gather data about mandarin oranges without harming the delicate peel. Growing interest in mandarins has UC scientists devoting more time and resources to the diminutive fruit. While Valencia and navel orange acreage is holding steady or dropping in California, mandarin acreage has tripled in the last 10 years.
“As the Valencia market has declined, many Valencia orchards are being replaced with mandarins,” Grafton-Cardwell said. “We have dozens of excellent varieties of mandarins and consumers love them because they’re easy to peel. Mandarins are the wave of the future.”
The cost of the Compac fruit grader was covered by the Citrus Research Board, a grower-funded organization created to support citrus research.
“The new fruit grader is another example of the excellent collaborative relationship the University has with the citrus industry,” Grafton-Cardwell said.
See the components of the new fruit grading system in the video below: