Welcome to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida. CREC is the world's largest Research, Teaching and Extension center devoted to citrus. CREC scientists and engineers interact closely with the citrus industry to address pertinent issues in horticulture, pests and diseases, and postharvest and processing technology.
Over 250 people are employed at CREC. Facilities include over 200 acres of groves, greenhouses, a citrus packinghouse, a citrus processing pilot plant and over 40 laboratories. Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Citrus Hall includes conference facilities, meeting rooms, a teaching laboratory, an electron microscopy facility and the largest citrus library in the world. CREC is also home to the scientific research staff of the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).
Learn more about CREC's Research, Teaching and Extension programs through this online tour. Thanks for visiting!
University of Florida students at CREC can pursue M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Horticultural Sciences, Entomology & Nematology, Plant Pathology, Soil & Water Science, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Food Science & Human Nutrition, and Food and Resource Economics. (Click Images to enlarge)
UF courses and selected degree programs in Soil and Water Science (Environmental Science track), Entomology, Pest Management and Agricultural Education are available through UF's College of Life and Agricultural Science distance education. Citrus-related courses are offered at CREC, and other courses are available through a videoconferencing network. An on-campus student dormitory is available.
CREC personnel devote time to students from area schools and organizations such as Future Farmers of America (FFA), 4-H and Ag in the Classroom. They also participate in activities such as science fairs, field trips, research projects and school visits.
Extension serves the public by providing information and conducting educational programs for citrus growers, processors, packers, related industry groups and homeowners. Short courses, workshops, meetings and other events are held yearly.
Ben Hill Griffin
The Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Citrus Hall at CREC, dedicated in 1982, includes meeting and conference rooms, a teaching laboratory, an electron microscopy facility and the largest citrus library in the world. The construction of this facility was made possible by financial contributions from the citrus industry. (Click Images to enlarge)
Horticulture and Harvesting
Thirteen faculty scientists lead programs that focus on citrus production, horticulture, harvesting and related topics. Some of the research areas include:
- New scion and rootstock development
- Soil, water and nutrition issues
- Weed and pest management
- Mechanical harvesting
- Grove design and planting
- Regulation of flowering and fruit development
- Fruit quality and production
- Freeze protection technology
- Environmental stress physiology
- Production management and precision agriculture
- Agricultural engineering
- Spray application technology
At CREC, seven plant pathology faculty lead programs on diseases such as tristeza, citrus canker, postbloom fruit drop, greasy spot, citrus blight, citrus brown rot, foliar fungal diseases, citrus psorosis and many others, including exotic diseases. There is ongoing research on the biology and molecular genetics of disease-causing organisms, detection methods and management strategies. CREC plant pathologists are also working with plant breeders to develop disease-resistant varieties for Florida. (Click Images to enlarge)
Entomology and Nematology
Six faculty programs are involved in integrated pest management programs for citrus insect, mite and nematode pests. Some current projects: (Click Images to enlarge)
- Integrated pest management of mites, root weevils, leafminer, aphids, psyllids, nematodes and other pests
- Monitoring of pests and plant damage
- Biological control and safe, effective pest management programs
- Alternatives to methyl bromide for nematode pest management
- Pest-pathogen interactions and effects on plants
Post Harvest Handling
The programs of four faculty focus on the preservation of fruit quality during harvest, packing, storage and transport. Some areas of study include:
- Peel disorders, postharvest diseases and maintenance of fruit quality
- Development of new citrus products
- Automated handling and sorting of fruit
- Sugar and acid metabolism in citrus fruit
- Food safety
- Abscission and mechanical harvesting
Ten scientists are involved in research on processed citrus juices and citrus products. Current projects include:
The Plant Biotechnology working group enhances interaction between scientists in different disciplines who are working on long-term improvements for citrus production and processing using state of the art recombinant DNA and cell culture methods. CREC also has a Core Citrus Transformation Laboratory for citrus genetic research.