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.

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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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