The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) approved three new projects during its September board of directors meeting. The projects will test the injection of different antimicrobial materials to treat HLB.
One project will be managed by Ozgur Batuman, a citrus pathologist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Another will be run by Kranthi Mandadi, a Texas A&M University plant pathologist. The third project funds research by consultants Henry Yonce and Tom Minter, who are working with a California-based company that has novel antimicrobial and pesticide products.
“For all three of these projects, there is early evidence that the products work well against the HLB bacteria,” said Rick Dantzler, CRDF chief operating officer. “We also invited a proposal from Yu Wang, a UF/IFAS food science professor. Dr. Wang has a very interesting library of natural products that have antibacterial qualities, so she would like to test them against the HLB bacteria. We think at least a few will work.
“All of this research is dedicated toward finding a substitute for oxytetracycline (OTC) in case the bacterium should develop resistance, or perhaps to find something that works even better.”
The board also put out bids on two other areas of OTC research. One is to test a novel OTC formulation that is pH neutral. OTC that is pH neutral could make it well suited for inclusion with other products, like pesticides, which can lose their efficacy if used with low pHs. Current OTC formulations require low pH. The second is to research OTC injection with the fungicides Kphite, ProPhyt and Magna-Bon CS 2005.
“This combination with OTC could be very consequential if it works,” Dantzler concluded.
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