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BARD 40 Year Review

Case Study 11: Prolonging the Quality of Ornamental Foliage Plants

Principal Investigators: US: C. A. Conover, Richard T. Poole (University of Florida); IS: Jaacov Ben-Jaacov (Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center)  

Goal: To determine the environmental conditions for maintaining quality of foliage potted plants during long distance shipping and storage. 

Activities: Laboratory and simulated shipping experiments to determine the effects of temperature, soil mixes, humidity and phytohormones on several genera of foliage plants during dark storage. 

Outcomes: The initiation of shipping transportation of foliage (and later flowering) potted plants to Europe. An immediate growth in the tropical foliage plants industry in Florida (also creating job opportunities) followed upon the large increase in shipped exports and development of the international market for foliage potted plants. The success later decreased as other international competitors entered the market and shipments from the US declined.

Economic Benefit: Net Present Value of BARD’s investment is $119 million, and it has already been attained. The Internal Rate of Return is 89%. Benefit-Cost Ratio is 90 and it has already been attained. 

Capacity Building: Due to the early date of this BARD award, we are not able to provide information on the students involved in this research project.

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Case Study 12: Biocontrol Agents for Pre and Post-Harvest

Principal Investigators: US: Michael Wisniewski (USDA-ARS); IS: Samir Droby (Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center)

Goal: To identify yeast antagonists effective against pre and post-harvest pathogens and to develop biocontrol agents.

Activities: Isolation and screening of new biological control antagonists found on fruit surfaces. Identification of molecular traits and research on additives to enhance performance of yeast biocontrol agents. 

Outcomes: Two identified yeast antagonists were the base for 2 commercial biocontrol products, one of which was the very first ever commercial biological control product (AspireTM), based on the yeast Candida oleophila. This yeast is now the base of a Syngenta biocontrol product that provides protection of banana crops worldwide. The second identified yeast, M. fructicola, has been licensed by Koppert Biologicals and has just received EU permits for application on grapes, strawberries and stone fruit.

Economic Benefit: Net Present Value of BARD’s investment is $12 million. The Internal Rate of Return is 9%. Benefit-Cost Ratio is 4, thereof already attained 0.

Capacity Building: At least 2 postdoctoral and 7 graduate students were involved in the research supported by the 5 BARD awards between 1985 and 2003.  Currently 3 are in academia, of which 2 in Turkey and 1 in Italy; 4 are in industry, 1 is a teacher and 1 works at the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension Services.

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