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The following is a current list of AFE-funded research. For more information on any of AFE’s currently-funded research, please contact AFE’s Research Coordinator Dr. Terril Nell.  


  • Developing Seed-Propagated Downy Mildew Resistant Impatiens: Dr. Mark Bridgen, Cornell University
    • Objective: To assess the success of the breeding process for the development of new flower colors and plant forms as well as the resistance of seed-propagated plants to Impatiens Downy Mildew.


  • Finding Solutions to Pre-Harvest Botrytis Infection and Thrips Infestation of Cut Roses: Drs. James Faust/JC Chong, Clemson University
    • Objective: Develop and understand the relationships between the greenhouse environment, such as temperature, humidity, leaf wetness and cultural practices on Botrytis and thrips infestation spore populations in cut roses.
  • Silence Mid-Gut Genes in Bemisia Tabaci to Biologically Control Whiteflies: Dr. Heqiang (Alfred) Huo, University of Florida.
    • Objective: Test the effect of loss-of-function in DCL4 on the efficacy of dsRNAs against mid-guts genes in controlling whitefly, through petiole absorption or stably expressed in the dcl4-deficient tobacco mutants for whitefly resistance evaluation.


  • A Novel Approach to Fungal-based Thrips Management with Marigold Guardian Plants: Dr. Margaret Skinner, University of Vermont
    • Objective: Evaluate the persistence of Beauveria bassiana, an insect-killing fungus, that when combined with a solid nutritional substrate (millet) in the potting mix will provide control of western flower thrips for longer periods.
  • Distinction of Arthropod-induced Stressors of Chrysanthemum Using Hyperspectral Imaging Technologies:  Dr. Christian Nansen, University of California, Davis
    • Objective: Provide novel and innovative insight into the practical potential of robotics and machine vision as part of improving and automating crop monitoring inside greenhouses.
  • Integrated Management of Thrips Using New Generation Bioinsecticides and Commercially-Reared Natural Enemies: Dr. Kevin M. Heinz, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
    • Objective: Screen and evaluate new biochemical pesticides, and conduct grower demonstration trials using best programs.
  • Manipulating Nutrient Inputs to Reduce Thrips in Flower Crops: Dr. Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
    • Objective: Determine if reduced nutrient regimes and biostimulant treatments reduce thrips population growth without negatively affecting plant quality, and test if treatments will improve relative efficacy of biocontrol strategies against thrips in a complete IPM strategy.
  • Successful IPM of Western Flower Thrips Starts with Clean Cuttings: Dr. Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
    • Objective: Investigate the use of cutting dips containing reduced-risk materials (insecticidal soap, mineral oil) and biopesticides (Beauveria bassiana) as a means of reducing thrips infestations on propagative materials to levels where they can be easily managed thereafter using biocontrol.
  • Ultraviolet Light for Integrated Pest Management of Western Flower Thrips:  Dr. Bruce Parker, University of Vermont
    • Objective:  Determine the effect of Ultraviolet Light on the WFT on roses and mums.


  • Economic and Postharvest Quality Analysis of Floriculture Crops Produced at Substrate Moisture Content: Dr. Terri Starman, Texas A&M University
    • Objective: Demonstrate that the use of lower volumes of water applied during irrigation can produce high-quality bedding plants with improved shelf life at retail while conserving water during production.
  • Evaluating Potential of Chitosan to Promote Botrytis Resistance and Plant Performance: Dr. Ryan Dickson, University of Arkansas
    • Objective: Evaluation of the potential for CHT sprays to control botrytis and influence plant performance during post-production of floriculture crops.

  • Inhibitors of Ethylene Action for Improving Cut Flower Longevity: Dr. Rasika Dias, University of Texas at Arlington
    • Objective: Improve our fundamental understanding of ethylene chemistry in plants, offer new and better ethylene antagonists for wider use, and provide ways of managing the post-harvest quality of flowers and shelf life.


  • Adaptive Supplemental Lighting to Reduce Energy Costs in Greenhouses: Dr. Marc van Iersel, University of Georgia
    • Objective: Quantify the relationship between the rate of the light reactions and compare different supplemental lighting strategies.
  • Development of Sole-Source Lighting Guidelines for the Production of Floriculture Transplants: Dr. Erik Runkle, Michigan State University
    • Objective: This project will provide an understanding of how sole source LED lighting from red, blue, far-red and ultra-violet lighting will affect growth and development on a broad range of floriculture crops (including bedding plants, herbaceous perennials and cut flower transplants).
  • Smartphone-Based Rapid, Inexpensive, and Accurate Estimation of Plant Nitrogen Status in Floriculture Production:  Dr. Krishna Nemali, Purdue University
    • Objective: Develop a Smartphone based method to easily and rapidly estimate the Nitrogen status of a large number of plants in floriculture production.

TheOhioStateLogoAdditional projects are funded through the Gus Poesch Research Fund, which awards research funding to faculty and students at The Ohio State University.

  • Gus Poesch Student Travel Grants
  • Use of Beneficial Microbes to Enhance Plant Growth, Decrease Disease Severity and Improve Stress Tolerance in Ornamentals – Dr. Michelle Jones

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