CRDF Puts a Bow on a Busy Year

Tacy CalliesCRDF

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) held its final board of directors meeting of the year on Dec. 12. According to Rick Dantzler, CRDF chief operating officer, it was a productive meeting.

“We funded projects on plant breeding and evaluation,” Dantzler said. “We also approved research to look for ways to maximize the use of oxytetracycline (OTC) as a direct systemic and substitutes for OTC.”

Pest management was a focus of the meeting. Diaprepes control, snail control and long-term management of lebbeck mealybug were points of discussion. All three of these pests have become increasingly problematic in Florida citrus groves over the past several years.

“We also funded the first year of a project by Eric Triplett, a professor of microbiology with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,” Dantzler said. “The project uses bacteriophages (also called phages, informally) to kill Candidatus liberibacter. It is a high-risk project, but it could be a high-reward outcome if it works.”

A bacteriophage is a virus that infects bacteria. Bacteriophages are among the most common and diverse entities in the biosphere. Bacteriophages are ubiquitous viruses, found wherever bacteria exist. It is estimated there are more bacteriophages on the planet than every other organism on Earth.

“The board also approved the template for a contract with grower-cooperators to test the injection of other molecules that could become a substitute for OTC if that need should arise,” Dantzler added.

About the Author

Frank Giles