UF/IFAS student presents research in Washington, D.C.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida Entomology and Nematology undergraduate student Sabrina White recently participated in the elite two-day “Posters on the Hill” presentation with congressional leaders and staff last week.

White presented findings from her honors thesis work with her faculty mentor, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ insect physiologist Daniel Hahn, April 29 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Electromagnetic irradiation is emerging as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides for controlling pest insects in fresh fruits and vegetables, facilitating international trade of U.S. agricultural products. Their study tested whether low-oxygen environments used in packaging fresh fruits and vegetables affected the dose of electromagnetic radiation needed to control an insect called the cabbage looper, a destructive crop pest found throughout North America. The study found that very low oxygen environments (<5% oxygen) slightly decreased the efficacy of electromagnetic irradiation treatments to kill or sterilize cabbage loopers, but that moderately low oxygen environments (>10% oxygen) had little impact on control.

About 60 undergraduate scientists were chosen for the event through a national competition sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research, a professional society that promotes undergraduate participation in scientific research.

Council officials said their online records show White is the first UF student selected for the honor, at least since 2005.

During her April 28-29 visit to the nation’s capital, White met with Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson and several staff members from Florida’s congressional delegation.

Contacts:

Sabrina White, 407-538-5053, sabrinawhite@ufl.edu

Daniel A. Hahn, 352-273-3968, dahahn@ufl.edu

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson and UF/IFAS entomology and nematology student Sabrina White pose for a photograph during White’s visit to the nation’s capital last week. Photo submitted by Sabrina White.