Alabama Designated as Commercial Citrus Producer

Tacy CalliesDiseases, Regulation

The new designation will provide the state of Alabama with citrus canker protections.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) announced it has designated Alabama as a commercial citrus-producing area. This action provides Alabama with protections that are afforded under the citrus canker regulations applying to commercial citrus-producing states.

USDA APHIS regulates the interstate movement of certain plants, plant parts and other articles from areas of the United States quarantined because of citrus canker. These regulations are to prevent the interstate spread of citrus canker.

Citrus canker is a plant disease caused by strains of the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The disease is known to affect plants, including citrus and citrus relatives. Citrus canker can cause defoliation and other serious damage to the leaves and twigs of susceptible plants. It may also make the fruit of diseased plants unmarketable by causing lesions on the fruit. Infected fruit may drop from trees before reaching maturity.

Learn more about citrus canker from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences here.  

A citrus canker quarantine was established in Alabama in July 2022 following citrus canker finds in the state in 2021.

USDA APHIS is also updating the scientific name for citrus canker used in the regulations. Current regulations refer to the bacterium that causes citrus canker as Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri. However, there has been an internationally recognized change in the nomenclature. The bacterium should be listed as Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri; the term Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri is obsolete and no longer in use. Therefore, USDA APHIS is revising the definition of citrus canker.

Learn more about the regulation change and its impact on Alabama here.