New Research Projects Funded by the American Floral Endowment for 2021-2022

Alexandria, Virginia – For 60 years, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) has been the ‘go-to’ source for funding research and communicating the results, along with the researchers, to the floral industry. AFE’s research has provided generations of advances and will continue to do so – sharing knowledge that helps the industry grow stronger. As AFE celebrates our 60th Anniversary, we also are pleased to share the new research funding for this year.

In 2021-2022, AFE will support 7 new research projects and 6 continuing projects totaling over $660,000 in funding from both the Endowment and the Thrips & Botrytis Research Fund.

“This research addresses industry-wide challenges and supports the continued advancement of floriculture. The findings from these projects will create new best practices, solve critical issues, and increase both productivity and profitability for floral businesses,” said Terril Nell, Ph.D., AFE Research Coordinator.

Newly Funded Projects for 2021-2022

  • Advancing Nighttime Lighting to Control Flowering of Photoperiodic Floriculture Crops: Qingwu Meng, University of Delaware
  • Can Western Flower Thrips be managed in Commercial Greenhouses with UV Light: Bruce Parker, University of Vermont
  • Engineering Floral Fragrance to new Heights using a Synthetic Biology Approach: Thomas Colquhoun, University of Florida
  • Fluorescence Imaging: A low-cost method for early stress detection: Marc Van Iersel, University of Georgia
  • Optimizing the Efficacy of Beneficial Bacteria against Botrytis Blight in Greenhouse Crops: Michelle Jones, The Ohio State University
  • Tulipalins: A Natural Fungicide for Cut Flowers from a Tulip Bulb Waste Stream: Thomas Gianfagna, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey
  • Using sub-zero Temperatures for Long-Term Storage of cut flowers: John Dole, North Carolina State University

To see a full list of our currently funded projects, click here. This list will be updated on July 1, 2021, at the beginning of our fiscal year to include the new projects.

AFE’s research projects focus on efficiency, labor-saving practices, and improved crop quality while increasing overall industry profitability. AFE-funded university researchers work directly with industry members to understand challenges and critical needs. These researchers, along with the help of highly talented graduate students, continue to identify solutions and provide guidelines for all segments of the floral industry to prepare for our future in the present day. In many areas, AFE research has transformed industry practices resulting in costs and labor savings.

Want to Get Involved?

The Endowment welcomes industry suggestions about critical needs and solutions to nagging problems. AFE can help YOU! Have suggestions or need information on specific problems, contact AFE’s Research Coordinator, Dr. Terril A. Nell ( And, please remember that AFE has an active internship program and scholarship program to develop the next generation of floriculture professionals.  If you are interested in hosting an intern, please contact Program Coordinator, Candice Musgrove (

Please consider making a contribution to support AFE’s research and other industry programs. It is through the engagement and participation of industry members that we are able to continue to support new research and increase the overall sustainability of our industry.

Coming Soon… Grow Pro Research Webinar Series!

The Endowment is hosting a NEW Webinar Series launching soon. The series features AFE-funded research results for growers and includes a Q&A opportunity for YOU to “Ask a Researcher.” Be on the lookout for more details!

About the American Floral Endowment (AFE)
The American Floral Endowment is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the floriculture and horticulture industry through funding research, educational grants and scholarships. Since 1961, more than $18 million has been funded in research and educational projects, and more than $3 million has been funded in scholarships and internships designed to attract and retain the future leaders of the industry. To learn more about AFE or how you can support floriculture programs, visit

If you would like more information about this please contact AFE.