Update on HLB-Tolerant/Resistant Tree Programs

Josh McGillFlorida Department of Citrus, HLB Management, Varieties

The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) in March heard updates on programs intended to provide growers with HLB-tolerant or -resistant trees and on other Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) scientific research programs. Director of Scientific Research Rosa Walsh provided the updates. The FCC serves as the FDOC’s governing board.

Donaldson orange trees are being propagated for their HLB tolerance.

Walsh announced that for the FDOC’s Program for Expedited Propagation, all materials have been distributed and budding has begun for the Parson Brown, Carney and Roble varieties. Certified Donaldson scion trees are small but growing fast. Walsh stated that some of the participating nurseries reported they will begin budding those trees in the fall. The program’s goal is to provide resources needed to ramp up the availability of the apparently HLB-tolerant Donaldson tree and others like it.

Walsh said the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has been examining potential escape trees for an Escape Tree Program. Fruit samples and seeds are already collected, and a few will be revisited closer to harvesting time. The FDOC will continue to work closely with FDACS’ Division of Plant Industry on the next steps for these trees. Walsh reported that several possible escape trees identified earlier in the season were lost to a hurricane in 2022.

A group at Ryerson University has completed a study on the effect of 100% orange juice on appetite, food intake, glycemic response and mood in healthy adults, Walsh reported. A draft manuscript is ready and currently being worked on to be submitted for publication. Walsh said she will present the official manuscript once it has been published and will also work with the FDOC global marketing team to get the information disseminated.

Walsh also provided a brief overview of all the presentations at a March 1 workshop regarding potential changes to the federal standard of identity for orange juice.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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