UF/IFAS Leads Multistate Research to Reduce Pepper Diseases; Boost Production (News Wise)

UF/IFAS Leads Multistate Research to Reduce Pepper Diseases; Boost Production

Peppers are popular. Consumers eat all kinds, including jalapenos, habaneros, chilis and more. Because people eat so much of the fruit, they’re worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Florida and national economies.

In fact, in 2018, bell and chili peppers alone were a $181 million-a-year industry in Florida and a $628 million a year industry nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.

But, like all crops, peppers face diseases that threaten to reduce their production. So, a University of Florida scientist is leading a multi-state effort to lessen the risk of diseases eating away at pepper harvests. With new data, scientists plan to help farmers increase their pepper production.

Pamela Roberts, a UF/IFAS plant pathology professor, has been awarded a four-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an arm of the USDA, to lead research into ways to reduce bacterial diseases in peppers. Scientists from UF/IFAS, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, Ohio State University, Auburn University, and a USDA lab in South Carolina will participate in the pepper disease research.

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