Highlights from the International HLB Conference

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, HLB Management

HLB

Scientists from around the world gathered to attend three days of presentations at the International Research Conference on HLB.

Harold Browning, chief operations officer at the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), provides an overview of activities at the recent International Research Conference on HLB held in Orlando. The conference was hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual, with much assistance from CRDF.

“There were nearly 500 participants from 24 countries” including for the first time scientists from Cuba, Browning reports. “The purpose of this meeting is to bring the scientists together who are working on HLB to share results in formal presentations and posters as well as in informal discussions over lunch, dinner, the informal poster sessions and so on … Overall, 150 presentations were given in 15-minute increments” in addition to several keynote addresses.

HLB

Researchers had the opportunity to network with colleagues during meals.

“Topically, obviously there was a lot of discussion about psyllids,” Browning says. Those discussions included numerous methods of controlling and monitoring the pests that spread HLB. Topics of other presentations included bactericides, plant improvement, thermal therapy, cultural practices and nutrition, impacts of higher-density planting, genetics and genomics.

Browning says the science presented was at a very high level. “I found myself getting a headache in some of the meetings because they were so technical and deep into the details,” he says. “But, in fact, that’s what’s necessary when you get scientists together.”

University of Florida Extension specialists attended all sessions. At an April 21 Grower Day, they will “put together a synopsis of what they heard and particularly those things that are of most interest to growers,” Browning reports. The Grower Day will be held at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

Browning says California will host the next International Research Conference on HLB in 2019, with the date and location to be determined.

HLB, also known as citrus greening disease, has wreaked havoc on Florida citrus trees and crops as well as citrus industries around the world.

Hear more from Browning:

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Tacy Callies

Tacy Callies

Editor of Citrus Industry magazine