Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as greening, is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Infected trees produce bitter fruits that are green, misshapen, and unsuitable for sale. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure and it typically dies within a few years. Greening has already devastated the Florida citrus industry and poses a threat to California and Texas as well as Australia and the Mediterranean region.
Currently the most effective ways to prevent the spread of HLB are to stop the causal agent (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) using quarantine measures, control the insect that spreads the disease (Asian citrus psyllid), remove the diseased trees, and plant HLB free trees. To this end, early diagnosis of HLB-diseased trees is crucial. Traditionally, diagnosis relies on observing blotchy mottle symptoms and confirming disease presence using molecular tools. However, these symptoms do not show until months after disease transmission and by then the disease has likely already spread throughout the grove.
Professor Nian Wang and his postdoctoral research associate Dr. Sheo Shanker Pandey, both from Citrus Research and Education Center, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences of University of Florida, developed a strategy for early diagnosis of HLB before the appearance of blotchy mottle symptoms. They used a low-cost staining method to identify insect feeding sites and tested those identified sites for the causal agent using quantitative real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
Through this method, the pair were able to detect the HLB causal agent up to two days after transmission and long before the appearance of symptoms. This early detection will enable citrus growers to prevent the spread of HLB in their fields. This finding is especially crucial for California, Texas, Australia, and the Mediterranean region as those areas are currently plagued by HLB.
More details about this study can be found in “Targeted Early Detection of Citrus Huanglongbing Causal Agent ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Before Symptom Expression” in Phytopathology Volume 109, Number 6, published June 2019. Phytopathology is an international journal publishing articles on fundamental research that advances understanding of the nature of plant diseases, the agents that cause them, their spread, the losses they cause, and measures used to control them.
The Latest on: Citrus greening
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The Latest on: Citrus greening
- Kat Cammack, AL Lawson Lead Florida Delegation Urging EPA to Approve Pesticide Used for Citrus Greeningon May 23, 2022 at 9:00 am
Citrus greening, a disease that impairs trees' ability to take in nourishment, has negatively impacted nearly every farm in Florida and can drastically reduce the productivity of a tree within just ...
- After the worst orange harvest in 75 years, Florida growers are trying to combat a deadly citrus diseaseon May 18, 2022 at 10:56 am
Florida oranges had their worst crop in 70 years. They're facing a deadly disease called citrus greening, spread in the body of the invasive Asian citrus psyllid. Today, nearly every citrus grove in ...
- Representatives seek Pesticide approval for Citrus Greeningon May 18, 2022 at 4:52 am
Representatives Kat Cammack and Al lawson sent a letter to the EPA. They are requesting the approval of a pesticide. The bipartisan letter asks the agency to quickly approve Vismax, used for citrus ...
- Citrus canker, the focus of simulation exercise to address plant health challenges in Dominicaon May 16, 2022 at 12:12 pm
A ‘tabletop simulation exercise’ as an emergency response to resolve plant health challenges in Dominica, was conducted as part of activities to mark the observance of International Day of Plane ...
- Hunt Bros. citrus packinghouse in Lake Wales has closed. Here's what that meanson May 16, 2022 at 6:32 am
Citrus greening also led to the closure of the fresh fruit packing and shipping operations, as they lost more than 500 acres of grapefruit groves in South Florida in the Immokalee and LaBelle ...
- 'Something to be proud of': USDA citrus forecast rose 5% in May. Still lowest since 1937-38on May 12, 2022 at 12:34 pm
imports and citrus greening – a devastating bacterial disease infecting most citrus trees in Florida. For an industry that two decades ago produced 230 million boxes of oranges — 287.2 million ...
- Hunt Bros. citrus packinghouse in Lake Wales has closed. Here's what that meanson May 12, 2022 at 2:01 am
Groves damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017 never bounced back, and the company sold nearly 1,000 acres . "We're still in the citrus business." ...
- Citruson May 5, 2022 at 3:10 am
Florida Farmers In Crisis Over Citrus Greening Disease Florida's nearly $11-billion-dollar citrus industry faces a growing danger from disease. A tree- killing bacteria is wiping out the state's ...
- Brazil and US scientists discover molecule that has destroyed millions of citrus groveson April 27, 2022 at 9:38 am
Citrus greening, or Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, is incurable and one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
- From the Extension: Citrus greening can easily decimate oranges and moreon April 23, 2022 at 5:33 am
While commercial citrus growers in Florida are keenly aware of where the industry stands with citrus greening, I get many questions from the general public about the disease and citrus in general ...
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