Image Number K7226-29
More than 70 percent of all citrus fruits grown in the United States are
varieties developed by the ARS citrus breeding program.
In Florida, we've come up with citrus varieties that are higher yielding
with increased disease resistance, better color, and longer shelf life. A major
success story is Ambersweet, a cold-hardy citrus that's been approved for use in
orange juice products. Because it withstands Florida's occasional cold snaps
that can ruin most citrus, Ambersweet is being widely planted in the Sunshine
State. It took 20 years of patient breeding to develop it, but the payoff is
If there's usually a grapefruit in your shopping cart, you may already have
met up with a favorite ARS-created variety. It's a red-fleshed, thin-skinned,
seedless grapefruit that was developed and released in 1987. Since then, over 4
million Flame nursery trees have been propagated in Florida. No other grapefruit
variety has ever been so widely accepted and planted.
Orange sections can now be prepared by a patented ARS process that uses
commercially available food-grade enzymes. The process also removes the bitter
white portion of grapefruit peel, eliminating hand-peeling and allowing more
precise portion control. And the prepeeled fruit is ideal for school lunch
programs and restaurants.
Keeping oranges fresh is another citrus-oriented task we've taken on.
Oranges that have been covered with our specially designed coating will stay
fresh for up to 3 weeks at room temperature. In that time, fruit treated with
the usual grocer's coatings will look shrunken and discolored.
Photo by Scott Bauer.
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