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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 and beyond. These approaches aim to improve and restore plant, root, and soil health and support relationships among root and rhizosphere dynamics, 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 our laboratory 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 facilitate the development of healthy agroecosystems, profitable agricultural production systems, and food security with tangible benefits to the community and improved living standards locally, nationally and internationally.

The main objectives of our research projects are:

  • To develop new nutritional guidelines for HLB-affected citrus, with particular emphasis on grapefruit trees.
  • To implement cultural practices (e.g., oak mulch, cover crops, fabric mulch ground covers, etc.) that reduce agricultural inputs while increasing root and soil health.
  • To study and improve root system architecture of fruit tree rootstocks for different Florida soils (in collaboration with plant breeders).
  • To identify and quantify the potential impact of abiotic stresses (salinity, heavy metals, and emerging pollutants) on rhizosphere dynamics, root physiology, and root anatomy.
  • To assess the viability and practicality of potential alternative crops for Florida’s agriculture producers (i.e., peach, pongamia, olive, coffee).