Dr. Lorenzo Rossi

Assistant Professor of Plant Root Biology

The central objective for Dr. Rossi's work is the development of “Shovelomics for citrus,” or high throughput phenotyping for different citrus rootstocks. The premise of Shovelomics is to evaluate the root crown of crops to estimate growth, development and architecture of principal roots.

Dr. Rossi’s Shovelomics for citrus program is the first of its kind. Several research universities have developed similar Shovelomics programs for field crops, however, Rossi’s program is the premier program for fruit crop trees, and in particular, for citrus.

A major thrust for “Shovelomics for citrus” involves understanding subterranean biotic and abiotic issues affecting root health as it relates to crop growth and yields. These studies will help to understand optimal nutritional formulas for citrus root stocks, particularly with grapefruit. 

Dr. Rossi’s field experiments include the employment of recently developed technology. Specifically, root cameras are capable of measuring and capturing images of root growth deep inside a root’s living architecture. With the images, Dr. Rossi is able to create two dimensional computer-generated studies to identify deficiencies and developments inside a tree’s roots. His work also entails soil core samples that  contributes thorough data and findings, including root morphology, growth, and root structure.

Concurrently, Dr. Rossi will establish a 3D Root Growth and Imaging System in the Root Biology Laboratory to allow monitoring and study of root growth and citrus seedlings. In this way, the scientific community will better understand the structural and functional modification in rootstocks under citrus greening, and under different stresses, in addition to citrus greening.

Dr. Rossi welcomes visiting scholars and graduate students to conduct research projects in his Plant Root Biology Laboratory, as well as in the field. Please email him at: l.rossi@ufl.edu

Assistant Professor, Horticulture, Root Biology

IRREC intern and Dr. Lorenzo Rossi install a mini-rhizotrone camera into a tube to capture 2-dimensional images of a citrus tree's roots.