Central Florida Ag News|August 2021
Study Gives Strawberry Growers Hope in Pest Battle
BRAD BUCK, UF/IFAS correspondent 

FOR A FEW YEARS, University of Florida plant pathologist Natalia Peres has used an ultraviolet light system to thwart strawberry pathogens. Peres even published a study this year that showed the system helps control powdery mildew.

Two fellow researchers with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have now used the same robotic UVC applicator to show that it works well to slow the spread of one strawberry pest, but not a second.

The three scientists, Peres and others at UF/IFAS are trying to tamp down pests and diseases for Florida’s $300 million-a-year strawberry industry.

Joseph Dean Montemayor — working under the supervision of entomology assistant professor Sriyanka Lahiri — focused on whether a system that uses UVC radiation can control mites and thrips.

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