Greatest UF/IFAS Unit Accomplishments

The most important purpose of our research is to discover science-based solutions that make tangible, positive impacts on the lives of people worldwide. Below are a few of the greatest accomplishments in the history of  our academic departments and Research and Education Centers (RECs).

Our research faculty and staff have:

Exploited the feeding biology of subterranean termites that led to Dow’s Sentricon® termite control system. Dr. Nan-Yao Su’s research revolutionized the way subterranean termites are controlled. -Entomology and Nematology Department, Fort Lauderdale REC

Characterized and overcame mineral deficiencies in livestock species. Dr. George Davis’ research findings saved the Florida beef cattle industry, and he was the first scientist from UF elected to the National Academy of Sciences. -Department of Animal Sciences

Developed and released ‘Florunner’ peanut in 1969. Florunner generated a significant yield advantage over other cultivars and was the foundation of future elite peanut cultivar releases. -Agronomy Department

Developed the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) crop model that identifies management practices for maximum productivity. It is currently used worldwide to manage 42 distinct crops. -Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Developed low-chill blueberry, peach and strawberry fruit varieties that provide Florida growers timing and economic advantage in national markets. -Horticultural Sciences Department, Gulf Coast REC

Released the Centennial soybean in the 1980s, the first soybean cultivar resistant to soybean root knot and soybean cyst nematode. It was planted on more acreage in the Southeast than any other soybean cultivar. -West Florida REC

Provided the first comprehensive studies on the host-feeding patterns of mosquitos in the Southeast U.S. that formed the basis of effective mosquito control. -Florida Medical Entomology Lab

Established the folic acid requirement during pregnancy that led to the establishment of food fortification procedures worldwide to prevent birth defects. -Food Science and Human Nutrition Department

Developed the genetic material for a vast majority of Florida’s 4 million acres of planted pine. -School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Developed the raised bed plastic mulch integrated system for vegetable and small fruit production. This system is used extensively worldwide with advantages ranging from reduced evaporation to improved plant growth. -Gulf Coast REC, Southwest Florida REC

Saved soybean farmers approximately $300 million per year by combatting Asian soybean rust through integrated pest management programs, monitoring the annual spread of the disease, and working with breeders to develop disease resistant plants. –North Florida REC

Developed the UF Critical Thinking Inventory (UFCTI) in the early 2000s, an assessment that measures critical thinking style on a continuum. In recent years, the reliability and validity of UFCTI has improved by performing statistical analyses using data from thousands of individuals. –Department of Agricultural Education and Communication

Developed the coleus breeding program that has produced 55 cultivars, 10 U.S. Plant Patents, and seven U.S. Trademarks. More than 25 million coleus plants have been used in more than 1 million American gardens and have been sold on four continents. -Department of Environmental Horticulture 

Established a teaching program dedicated to helping achieve careers in human service, community development, cooperative extension, and youth professions. Originally an extension unit, the department established an undergraduate teaching program in 1994, a master's program in 2000, and a doctoral program in 2016. -Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department

Developed, implemented, and evaluated many national and international generic commodity promotion programs. This industry-wide advertising disseminates information with the sole purpose of increasing demand for a product. -Food and Resource Economics Department

Developed cutting-edge science and management tools to protect water quality and influence policy. This included remediation of contaminated soil and water, and establishing best management practices for urban and agricultural systems. -Soil and Water Sciences Department

Populated leadership positions in international conservation agencies and organizations that include directors of the national wildlife agencies in Mexico and Uganda, and the current Minister of State in Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development in Belize. -Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

Guided the development of crop production practices that made citrus Florida's iconic agricultural commodity. The most notable contributions are improved irrigation and fertilization programs, development of freeze protection practices, and implementation of pest and disease management practices. -Citrus REC

Developed and implemented Best Management Practices for Florida water quality and use by focusing on water volume, sediment transport, pesticides and metals, nutrients, and aquatic weeds. -Indian River REC

Greatly impacted Florida's tropical foliage plant industry through cultivar development; fertilization, water and temperature; disease and pest management; contributions to shipping and transportation; and indoor lighting research. -Mid-Florida REC

Developed, evaluated, and disseminated forage cultivars and sustainable management practices for subtropical and tropical cattle grazing ecosystems. -Range Cattle REC

Developed mass-rearing techniques for sterile fruit fly release that led to the biological control of Caribbean fruit flies throughout the U.S. and prevented significant crop damage. -Tropical REC

Identified bacterial spot resistant genes in tomato and pepper that impacted basic biology and disease management practices. -Plant Pathology Department

Genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to produce biofuels and chemicals using farm and forest waste. -Department of Microbiology and Cell Science

NOTE: Check this page regularly as we're updating each unit accomplishment with more information.