Methods for controlling olive fruit fly, growing mushrooms in composted food scraps, and strategies for organically producing fruits and vegetables are among newly funded University of California research projects. UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has awarded $1.8 million for specialty crop research.
The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae, has recently invaded California and spread rapidly throughout the state. It poses a serious threat to the state's olive trees and its burgeoning olive oil industry. Chemical control, even if effective, will be costly. UC scientists are studying the biology of the olive fruit fly and olive trees, looking for ways to intervene and prevent damage. Other UC scientists will be examining the effectiveness of natural enemies that attack olive fruit fly.
As Californians attempt to reduce the volume of garbage being trucked to landfills, Santa Clara County Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Maria de la Fuente is trying to use composted urban waste, food scraps and paper instead of more expensive substrate ingredients and peat moss used in commercial production of mushrooms.
Several researchers are exploring organic methods for managing weeds, pests, diseases and fertility in fruit and vegetable crops.