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Citrus Greening and Florida

University of Florida (UF) researchers are a step closer to finding a treatment for a disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, which has decimated citrus trees in the state. The project was funded through NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).

The investigators looked at the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which transmits the HLB bacteria from one plant to another. Scientists discovered that the psyllid contains another bacterium, Wolbachia bacterium, that “cross talks” with the HLB bacterium. This interplay prevents an insect immune reaction that could harm both bacteria.

The Wolbachia bacterium could be a source for future spray treatments to protect trees against the psyllids, and could help the trees fight off bacterial invasion, said senior study author Dean W. Gabriel, Ph.D., a professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Florida.

Read more about UF's citrus greening research at Science Daily.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Agriculture systems and technology
U.S. States and Territories
Florida
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