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Gala UCR Event March 9 to Commemorate Citrus Milestones

Gala UCR Event March 9 to Commemorate Citrus Milestones

(February 1, 2000)

"A Celebration of Citrus" - an evening event honoring the work of UCR scientists on behalf of the citrus industry worldwide and featuring interpretative displays, citrus art work and the culinary citrus creations of gourmet chefs - is scheduled for Thursday, March 9, at the Riverside Convention Center.

A reception, banquet and program will reflect on the history of UCR's Citrus Experiment Station, established in 1907, the research contributions in support of the citrus industry both in Southern California and worldwide, and the individuals who made sgnificant contributions to citrus science.

Multi-media presentations, displays illustrating the history of citrus propagation and farming, and an art show of citrus packing labels and paintings are also planned as part of the gala event.

The Citrus Experiment Station, the "rootstock" for the University of California, Riverside campus, has for nearly a century been at the forefront of citrus production improvement. Research conducted at the station on many occasions has buttressed the economic development of the state's citrus industry.

Among the early research milestones was the control of the citrophilus mealybug by a natural enemy, an advance that marked one of the Citrus Experiment Station's first ventures into "biological control" as a non-chemical method of pest control. In 1946, station scientists Herbert John Webber and Leon D. Batchelor - both of whom served as director of the station - published "The Citrus Industry," a two-volume work that came to be known as the bible of the industry. Also in the 1940s, station scientists solved the mystery of tristeza disease, which threatened to wipe out California's citrus industry, and developed a new disease-resistant rootstock. Another biological control success was control of the woolly whitefly by parasites native to Chile and Mexico. UCR's influence upon the state's citrus industry today can be seen in a variety of programs, including:

  • The Citrus Variety Collection, established upon the station's opening and now containing 868 varieties that have been used to solve disease problems, improve commercial varieties and preserve valuable germplasm resources.
  • The Citrus Clonal Protection Program, which safeguards the industry against the spread of disease by providing it with disease-free budwood and conducting disease testing for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  • An extensive program in citrus variety development and improvement, reflected in the most recent release, Gold Nugget, a sweet, seedless tangerine that follows the grapefruit varieties Oroblanco and Melogold.

The station - now called the Citrus Research Center-Agricultural Experiment Station to reflect its expanded agenda - continues to meet the evolving needs of the industry in addressing new pest and disease challenges and developing new varieties for overseas markets.

The March 9 celebration will reflect on UCR's citrus heritage and accomplishments of the industry, as well as honor seminal figures whose work underpinned the state's agricultural economy. "A Celebration of Citrus - The Past, Present and Future at UCR" will bring together citrus growers, scientists and alumni of both the Citrus Experiment Station and UCR.

The event is open to the public. It will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. dinner and program. Tickets are $60 per person. Patron and sponsor tables are also available. For ticket reservations and inquires, call (909) 787-4799. Reservation deadline is Feb. 25.

Proceeds will benefit the UCR Citrus Variety Collection.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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