Lettuce Cultivars for Insect Resistance in Southern Florida (HS1196/HS1196)

Russell Nagata, associate professor at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at Belle Glade, Florida , examines leafminer colonies on romaine lettuce. He is using genetic engineering to make lettuce resistant to the tiny leafminer insect that tunnels through leaves and makes lettuce unmarketable. The improved lettuce will lower pesticide cost for growers and produce higher quility lettuce for consumers. Photography by Milt PutnamFlorida’s subtropical climate facilitates lettuce production from fall through spring, but the warm, moist conditions are also favorable for insect proliferation and damage. Information about current cultivar response to common insect pests in Florida is limited, so UF/IFAS researchers conducted a study to evaluate cultivar response to insect infestation under field conditions and to identify resistance useful for integrated pest management. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Huangjun Lu, Alan L. Wright, and David Sui, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, February 2012.