St. Paul, Minn. (September 14, 2005) -- The recent discovery of citrusgreening (huanglongbing) in samples collected from trees in SouthFlorida poses a definite threat to Florida's $9 billion commercialcitrus industry. Proper identification and eradication methods areneeded to reduce the amount of crop loss caused by this disease, sayplant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that affects the phloem systemof citrus plants causing the infected trees to yellow, decline, andpossibly die within a few years. The bacterium is spread by an insect,the citrus psyllid.
"Although there is no cure for citrus greening, it is vital thatplant pathologists work with growers to quickly identify the diseaseand its insect hosts," said Ronald Brlansky, professor and plantpathologist with the University of Florida, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL."Finding the extent of the disease and the removal of infected treeswill reduce the damage done by this disease," he said. Plantpathologists have been surveying and testing for citrus greening sincethe psyllids were found in the U.S. in the late 1990s.
Citrus greening infects all types of citrus species. The name"huanglongbing" means "yellow dragon" which is descriptive of theyellow sectors of infected trees. The symptoms of citrus greeningusually include a blotchy mottle and leaf yellowing that spreadsthroughout the tree with lopsided fruit that fail to color properly.
Citrus greening has seriously affected citrus production inAsia, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula, andwas recently discovered in Brazil.
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a non-profit,professional scientific organization. The research of theorganization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding ofthe science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.
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