Research on Heat Treatment, Bactericide Uptake

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christopher vincent

A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher reports on an experiment to see if treating trees with heat would enhance the uptake of a bactericide commonly used for HLB.

“We treated trees that were not HLB infected, so this wasn’t looking at the efficacy of heat treatment against HLB,” says scientist Christopher Vincent, who works at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. “It did have a negative effect on overall (tree) growth, both of the times we repeated it.

“What we were most interested in was whether it would improve the uptake of oxytetracycline, which is an antimicrobial. It did not. But an interesting result that we got from it was that it seems that the oxytetracycline is becoming systemic in the plant and being loaded into the phloem at a significant rate. So, basically (there is) some evidence for foliar-applied antimicrobials becoming systemic.”

Asked about the finding that heat treatment had a negative effect on tree growth, Vincent speculates that the effect of heat treatment on tree growth would likely be the same for HLB-infected trees.

Other researchers and growers have experimented with heat treatment to try to curtail HLB infection, with varying results. Likewise, growers and researchers have reported varying results from the use of oxytetracline and another bactericide for combating HLB.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large