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Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees

Date:
August 8, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Agricultural scientists are using a technology known as "Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflection" spectroscopy to rapidly identify with 95 percent accuracy citrus plant leaves infected with the devastating disease known as citrus greening.
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ARS scientists have developed a faster, less expensive way to identify citrus greening disease (Huanglongbing) in plants, one that has the potential to detect the disease before symptoms like those shown here on grapefruit tree leaves are visible.
Credit: Photo by Tim Gottwald

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are using a technology known as "Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflection" (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy to rapidly identify with 95 percent accuracy citrus plant leaves infected with the devastating disease known as citrus greening.

Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Plant Pathology Research Unit in Fort Pierce, Fla., and the agency's Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit in Athens, Ga., collaborated on the use of FTIR-ATR spectroscopy to identify citrus greening in plants. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA, and this work supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Citrus plants are highly susceptible to citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing. The disease was discovered in Florida in 2005 and is rapidly spreading in the citrus-growing regions of the state. Fruit from infected trees drops prematurely or fails to ripen.

The current method for detecting citrus greening-infected trees is a type of DNA testing called polymerase chain reaction, which is both costly and time-consuming. FTIR uses light to identify chemicals and reactions in a sample. This technology has the potential to detect the disease before visible symptoms occur, and it is cheaper and faster than the DNA testing.

To test for the presence of the disease, researchers removed a leaf from a citrus tree, dried it out in a microwave, and ground it into a powder. A very small sample of the leaf powder was placed on top of an ATR plate. The system clearly distinguished citrus greening-infected leaves from healthy leaves. The scientists say more work will be need to diferentiate between leaves infected with citrus greening and those infected with other citrus diseases.

The Fort Pierce team included physical scientist Gavin Poole and research leader Tim Gottwald, while the Athens team was composed of chemist Samantha Hawkins, engineer Bosoon Park, physiologist William Windham and research leader Kurt Lawrence.

Results of this research were published in Applied Spectroscopy in 2010.

Read more about this research in the August 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at: www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/aug11/trees0811.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Sharon Durham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Samantha A. Hawkins, Bosoon Park, Gavin H. Poole, Timothy Gottwald, William R. Windham, Kurt C. Lawrence. Detection of Citrus Huanglongbing by Fourier Transform Infrared–Attenuated Total Reflection Spectroscopy. Applied Spectroscopy, 2010; 64 (1): 100 DOI: 10.1366/000370210790572043

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USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808104534.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, August 8). Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808104534.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808104534.htm (accessed May 24, 2015).

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