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Plant Root Biology Lab

Plant Root Biology Lab


In our commitment to fostering Florida's heritage citrus industry, members of the Plant Root Biology Laboratory strive to lead research, teaching, and extension programs to advance sustainable citrus production for the Florida Indian River District (IRD). These approaches aim to improve and restore plant, root, and soil health and support relationships among root and rhizosphere dynamics, Florida's sandy soils, and natural resources. We educate students, scientists, and support producers who will lead the industry into the mid-21st century with multiple sustainability production programs for specific growing regions.


The long-term goal of Dr. Rossi’s Lab is to improve sustainable agricultural practices, with emphasis on citrus, while improving and developing research and teaching tools to monitor plant root health and structure. The obtained results will facilitate the development of healthy agroecosystems, profitable agricultural production systems, and food security. Overall there will be tangible benefits to the community and improve living standards locally, nationally and internationally.

The main objectives of our research projects are:

  • Determine optimal nutrient concentrations for multiple citrus varieties and rootstocks under HLB-endemic conditions to improve root health and increase tree productivity.
  • Develop new natural approaches to improve citrus root health and function using greenhouse and field trials.
  • Define the extent to which progression of HLB may involve changes in the relationship between the plant and the soil microbial community.
  • Identify and quantify the potential impact of emerging contaminants on rhizosphere ecology, root physiology and root anatomy.