(c) UCR/Stan Lim - citrus bloom in a citrus tree

How CNAS has Changed Lives

CNAS Has Changed Everyday Life Around the World

  • All navel oranges in California are descended from two trees that were planted in Riverside in 1875. The burgeoning Inland Empire citrus crop resulted in the establishment of the UC Citrus Experiment Station (1907). Later renamed the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), for more than a century it has provided basic and applied research to improve the quality and abundance of agricultural products for California and the nation.
  • In 1888 California citrus growers imported the vedalia lady beetle from Australia to control the cottony cushion scale, in the first case of biological control on record. The Citrus Experiment Station created the Division of Beneficial Insects, and its research established biocontrol as the pest-management approach of choice, leading to reductions in use of pesticides (1923).
  • The landscaping that beautifies California’s freeways would not exist had not AES researchers discovered the mechanisms by which smog kills plants, and bred varieties that could withstand the damage (1944).
  • UCR/AES researchers have saved California’s citrus crops from annihilation several times   (1946—solution to citrus tristeza virus; 1950—discovery that soil fumigation solves replant problem; 1991—release of stingless wasp controls ash whitefly; 2008—identification of closely related bacterium to solve citrus greening disease).
  • The Coachella Valley became more livable after a UCR researcher figured out how to control the eye gnats and mosquitoes that infested the desert communities (1956 and later).
  • California’s Citrus Clonal Protection Program, which provides the industry with true-to-type, disease-free citrus propagating material, was established by UCR scientists; it has been a model for similar programs worldwide (1957).
  • Our ability to eat citrus fruit virtually all year long, instead of only during their natural winter season, is due to the discovery by UCR researchers of chemicals that slow the aging and abscission of the fruit (1963).
  • No longer do we need to fear rickets and various autoimmune diseases from a lack of Vitamin D. How the vitamin D is used in the body was first described by UCR researchers (1967).
  • Cowpeas are a major source of protein in Africa and an increasingly important crop in California. UCR researchers developed drought- , disease-, and insect-resistant strains to increase yield (1970 and later).
  • Low-water-use, high-traffic-tolerant turfgrass varieties were developed by UCR scientists for use in parks, schools, sports fields, golf courses, and homes (1970 and later).
  • Our ability to control agrichemical runoff depends on UCR research that established how chemical compounds move through soil (1982).
  • California wine continues to delight palates since UCR researchers controlled the glassy-winged sharpshooter, the insect that vectors Pierce’s Disease, which was devastating the grape crop (1990 and later).
  • California’s signature eucalyptus trees, introduced from Australia in the 1860s, had no insect pests for a century, but now are faced with 18 species of lethal pests. In classic demonstrations of biological control methods, UCR entomologists travel back to Australia to find natural enemies of these pests (1994 and later).
  • Ranunculus flowers continue to beautify our lives after UCR research developed a method to eradicate a bacterium that threatened to destroy the California crop (1995).
  • UCR entomologists have developed ant bait stations that greatly reduce the need for sprayed chemicals, by inducing ants to ingest relatively low-toxic pesticides and return to their nests to die (2006).
  • A variety of rice that can survive being submerged under water has been developed by UCR researchers. It could save thousands of people from starvation in flood-prone areas of Asia (2008).
  • Drought-resistant strains of rice and other crops will result from UCR research that identifies the hormone that helps plants survive drought by inhibiting their growth in times of stress (2009).
  • A natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid, discovered in Pakistan by UCR entomologists, has been released in Southern California in an effort to control the insect from infesting California’s citrus crop, as it has done in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas (2011).
  • Seedless grapefruit and mandarins have been developed at UCR since the 1980s. A recent variety is Tango, a seedless mandarin whose sweetness and easiness to peel make it a favorite, especially for children. Tango is now beginning to appear in supermarkets (2012).


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