University of Georgia Lab Offers HLB Testing

Daniel Cooper Georgia, HLB Management

The University of Georgia’s (UGA) Plant Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (MDL) on the Tifton campus is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified lab performing huanglongbing (HLB, also known as citrus greening) testing. It offers the advanced test to commercial growers, homeowners, nurseries, Extension and research personnel and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The molecular test per sample costs $80.

Photo by George Ugartemendia

Candidatus Liberibacter species associated with HLB are pathogens subject to Plant Protection and Quarantine regulatory and permit conditions. Therefore, the laboratory will perform testing in accordance with USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service standardized real-time PCR protocols and policies.

Instructions for sample selection, collection and shipping include the following steps:

  • Carefully inspect your plants to accurately assess symptoms and distribution. Complete the sample submission form with detailed information on the problem, symptoms, disease distribution and plant parts affected.
  • Collect a plant sample(s) that is representative of the symptoms and signs observed. Plant samples should be freshly collected.
  • Submit a generous amount of plant material, including a mixture of symptomatic and asymptomatic tissue. Do not send dried or dead plants.
  • For root and vascular problems, carefully dig out the plant to preserve the root system. Remove excess soil and wrap the roots with dry paper towels.
  • Place the sample in a plastic Ziploc bag. Seal and maintain samples fresh or refrigerated after collection until they are submitted to the MDL.
  • Leaf or fruit samples should be placed in sealed bags, without being wrapped in paper towels.
  • Do not mix samples from different plant species in the same submission bag. Label each sample clearly.
  • If samples are hand-delivered directly to the lab, they can be sealed in plastic bags as described above. Alternatively, place the samples in a box and mail them to the MDL. Do not send samples in envelopes.
  • Use the next-day or two-day shipping option. It is important for the sample to arrive within 48 hours of collection. All samples must be accompanied by a completed sample submission form.
  • Mail samples early in the week to avoid the weekend layover in the post office. Ship samples to Plant Molecular Diagnostic Lab, 115 Coastal Way, Tifton, GA 31794. The lab’s phone number is 229-386-3372.

Source: UGA Plant Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

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