The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is releasing six new citrus varieties.

Florida university releases citrus varietiesThe Gainesville-based university has approved for release the new cultivars which include some rootstalks that possess resistance to citrus greening, the disease that’s devastated Florida’s citrus groves.

The new citrus cultivars also include a processing orange possessing possible greening tolerance, pummelos and a lemon hybrid.

The release committee approved releasing the citrus cultivars under the university’s citrus fast track release option, which means they are scheduled to be distributed to growers 10-15 years faster than the traditional 15- to 20-year variety release process, according to a news release.

Citrus cultivars scheduled for release include a rootstalk that in experimental trials has shown trees grafted onto the rootstock possess reduced frequencies of infection from greening and displayed reduced disease symptoms once infected; red-fleshed fresh market pummelos that remain longer on trees for a long harvest window and a pummelo variety possessing a less-bitter taste than grapefruit.

All the citrus cultivars sparked high industry interest, Kevin Folta, the university’s horticultural sciences department associate professor and chairman, said in the release.