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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RECEIVES GRACE GRANT TO HELP FIGHT FLORIDA PESTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RECEIVES GRACE GRANT TO HELP FIGHT FLORIDA PESTS
 BOCA RATON, Fla., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Florida recently received a $45,000 grant from W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) to support the work of a UF researcher who has discovered a fungus that kills the sweet potato whitefly, Florida's most troublesome pest.
 Lance S. Osborne, the UF entomologist based at the Central Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Fla., said the grant will be used to research methods of controlling whiteflies and other horticultural pests in Florida such as thrips, aphids, spider mites and various worms.
 In a petri dish, the fungus looks like harmless puffs of cotton, but it has shown enough promise that Grace has entered into an agreement with the UF Research Foundation to develop the fungus for commercial use. In greenhouse tests, the fungus was 99 percent effective, killing whiteflies in all stages of development.
 Osborne won a patent in July 1990 for a fungus he found in Florida called Paecilomyces fumosoroseus that kills the sweet potato whitefly quickly and safely in all stages of development. The fungus, however, still must undergo extensive testing before it can be registered for use by the Environmental Protection Agency.
 Dr. James F. Walter, manager, biochemical engineering, at Grace's Washington Research Center in Columbia, Md., said, "This is a very exciting organism and could ultimately present an effective alternative to harmful chemical pesticides."
 Osborne said, "We'd be out of business and I'd have to lay off most of the people in my laboratory if it weren't for this grant."
 From the corporate perspective, Dr. F. Peter Boer, Grace's executive vice president and chief technical officer, said, "This promising new technology could complement Grace's existing portfolio of natural biocontrol products, which include Margosan-O and BioNeem insecticides and the gliocladium fungicide."
 Grace is the world's largest specialty chemicals company with a leadership position in health care.
 -0- 5/14/92
 /CONTACT: Susan O'Reilly of UF/IFAS Educational Media and Services, 904-392-2411; or Chuck Suits of W. R. Grace & Co. 407-362-2600 or 800-GRACE99/
 (GRA) CO: W. R. Grace & Co.; University of Florida ST: Florida IN: CHM SU:


AW-JJ -- FL003 -- 0143 05/14/92 10:55 EDT
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Date:May 14, 1992
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