Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemicals found that treat citrus greening in the lab

Date:
June 4, 2014
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
A possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry, has been found by a cautiously optimistic research team. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market. The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria’s spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees’ shoots.

A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.

Related Articles


Claudio Gonzalez and Graciela Lorca led the research team that examined three biochemical treatments: phloretin, hexestrol and benzbromarone.

The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria’s spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees’ shoots. They expect to begin field experiments with this treatment later this year. Their research was published in late April by the online open access journal PLOS Pathogens.

Gonzalez and Lorca are UF associate professors in the microbiology and cell science department, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The team also works under the auspices of the UF Genetics Institute.

The researchers found that benzbromarone targets a specific protein, known as LdtR, in the citrus greening bacterium. When benzbromarone binds to LdtR, it inactivates the protein, which disrupts a cell wall remodeling process critical for the greening bacterium’s survival inside a citrus tree.

“As a consequence of the chemical treatment, several genes were not expressed and the bacteria were not able to survive inside the phloem of the plant where osmotic pressure from sugar is high,” said Fernando Pagliai, a co-author of the study and a UF graduate assistant. Phloem is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients to all parts of the plant.

Benzbromarone is typically used to treat gout in humans.

Citrus greening first enters the tree via a tiny bug, the Asian citrus psyllid, which sucks on leaf sap and leaves behind bacteria. The bacteria then move through the tree via the phloem. The disease starves the tree of nutrients, damages its roots and the tree produces fruits that are green and misshapen, unsuitable for sale as fresh fruit or for juice. Most infected trees die within a few years.

The disease has already affected millions of citrus trees in North America and could wipe out the industry in the next decade if a viable treatment is not found.

UF/IFAS researchers have attempted everything from trying to eradicate the psyllid to breeding citrus rootstock that shows better greening resistance. Current methods to control the spread of citrus greening include removing and destroying infected trees.

Florida growers say they desperate for a treatment that will work.

“Every grower I know is just hanging by their fingernails, hoping and praying for a new discovery for treatment,” said Ellis Hunt Jr. of Lake Wales, whose family has been in the citrus business since 1922.

Industry experts, though, say it could be five to seven years before a new active-ingredient product could be commercially available because of the amount of time field testing takes and government regulations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fernando A. Pagliai, Christopher L. Gardner, Lora Bojilova, Amanda Sarnegrim, Cheila Tamayo, Anastasia H. Potts, Max Teplitski, Svetlana Y. Folimonova, Claudio F. Gonzalez, Graciela L. Lorca. The Transcriptional Activator LdtR from ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Mediates Osmotic Stress Tolerance. PLoS Pathogens, 2014; 10 (4): e1004101 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004101

Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Chemicals found that treat citrus greening in the lab." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105315.htm>.
University of Florida. (2014, June 4). Chemicals found that treat citrus greening in the lab. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105315.htm
University of Florida. "Chemicals found that treat citrus greening in the lab." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140604105315.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins