The Citrus Experiment Station (CES) was established in 1907 after farmers petitioned the state to allocate funding to research on citrus diseases, irrigation problems, nutritional deficiencies, and occasional frosts and pests in order to make the California citrus industry competitive. The CES served as the foundation for UCR, with the campus built up around it. Now renamed the Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station (CRC-AES), UCR researchers continue to solve problems facing the industry as well as breeding and patenting new varieties of citrus. One major issue that UCR researchers aim to solve is the spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), also called citrus greening disease, which is currently decimating the citrus industry in several regions around the world. A biosafety-level 3 building is currently being built with funding from industry in order to safely conduct research on HLB. Once built, a $5 million USDA grant will fund research projects aimed at combating HLB including breeding plants for resistance, developing molecular tools to combat disease, new treatment programs with insecticides and bactericides, and early disease detection techniques.
The Citrus Variety Collection (CVC) was established in 1910 to support the developing citrus industry and is now known as a premier germplasm collection worldwide, containing over 1,000 varieties of citrus and citrus relatives. The purpose of the CVC is to conserve and evaluate citrus and citrus relatives, provide a resource of genetic diversity for research, and to provide knowledge about citrus diversity. Citrus researchers at UCR and around the world use the CVC as resource materials. The diverse range of research projects includes scion and rootstock breeding to develop varieties tolerant to desert climates, using molecular techniques to reduce seed set and promote tolerance to pests and diseases, investigation of phylogenetic relationships, and investigation of citrus limonoids as anticancer agents. The citrus scion breeding program has successfully patented seven varieties, available to industry through licensing agreements.