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
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Many homeowners have suffered the loss of citrus trees to citrus greening. To help battle the insect vector that spreads the disease, you can ask the state to release a wasp that will aid in control.
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- Scientists advance citrus greening research efforts on November 12, 2019 at 11:16 am
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- APNewsBreak: Federal funds for citrus greening on November 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Federal agriculture officials said Thursday that they are allocating millions of dollars toward research to solve problems caused by the devastating citrus greening ...
- Citrus greening quarantine expands to Brazoria, Galveston counties on October 30, 2019 at 6:44 am
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- Texas expands citrus greening quarantine area on October 23, 2019 at 2:12 pm
Photo courtesy California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program ) The quarantined area for citrus greening disease in Texas has expanded to Brazoria and Galveston counties. More than two dozen ...
- Citrus greening quarantine expands to Brazoria, Galveston counties on October 23, 2019 at 8:00 am
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- Washington, Florida scientists think they have potential citrus greening breakthrough on October 3, 2019 at 9:06 am
GAINESVILLE — Researchers at Washington State University, along with colleagues at the University of Florida, may have discovered a long-sought holy grail in the quest to stem citrus greening, the ...
- A breakthrough in the battle against citrus greening on September 21, 2019 at 1:49 pm
Washington is known for apples, but researchers at Washington State University — along with colleagues at the University of Florida — may have discovered a long-sought holy grail in the quest to stem ...
- Stanford researchers create new way of finding potential treatments for citrus greening on August 19, 2019 at 12:13 pm
She has published over 150 papers on this one topic but when she realized her lab’s decades of highly focused research could contribute to a solution for citrus greening – a disease that devastates ...
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