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.
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