The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced an investment of nearly $11 million for research to combat HLB.
“NIFA’s Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension program brings the nation’s top scientists together with citrus industry representatives to find scientifically sound solutions to combat and prevent HLB at the farm-level,” said NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “This year’s awards represent all three major U.S. citrus-growing regions and include possible solutions ranging from blocking HLB transmission from inside the insect vector to utilizing novel antimicrobial peptides to treat HLB-infected trees.”
The fiscal year 2021 projects include:
- Texas A&M AgriLife Research will leverage public-private partnerships between state agencies, universities, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the citrus industry to pursue advanced testing and commercialization of promising HLB therapies and extend outcomes to stakeholders. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) will be a participant in this $7 million project.
- University of California, Riverside will build on previous work and evaluate the performance of 300 hybrid citrus trees in established trials to map HLB tolerance/resistance genes and release superior new rootstocks. UF/IFAS will also participate in this approximately $1.5 million project.
- University of Florida seeks to develop a bacterial pathogen transmission blocking strategy (specifically to block Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the pathogen that causes HLB) toward mitigation of HLB-related losses in an integrated pest management framework. This project is funded for approximately $1 million.
- University of Florida will support the needs of both commercial and residential citrus growers by comparing new tools to support young trees and develop management recommendations for the incorporation of each tool into production and residential settings. This is a $750,000 project.
- University of Florida aims to introduce and transfer the natural HLB resistance present in Australian limes into conventional citrus to produce HLB-resistant Australian lime hybrid rootstocks and deploy these hybrids to protect susceptible citrus scions against HLB. This project is funded for $500,000.
Another article will be published soon about the role UF/IFAS will play in these projects.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture
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