HLB resistance

CRDF Focused on the Search for HLB Resistance

Daniel CooperCitrus, Citrus Greening, HLB Management

Florida Orange Grove
By lisafx/DepositPhotos image

According to Rick Dantzler, Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) chief operating officer, the past seven days have been busy for CRDF’s committees. First, the Plant Improvement Committee, chaired by grower Joby Sherrod, reviewed several projects and ideas seeking HLB resistance in detail. A three-year plan for the plant improvement programs for University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) was scrutinized.

“There are many things to like regarding the plan, especially a renewed commitment for the two breeding programs to work hand-in-hand, but the committee wished to see more specificity so the researchers will go back to the drawing board to comply with the committee’s request,” Dantzler said. “These plans are complementing a project led by Weston Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company, funded by CRDF, which takes the best of 500 accessions created by UF/IFAS and USDA/ARS citrus breeders and puts them in Stage 2 field trials.”

The Research Management Committee held a six-hour meeting in which it reviewed 32 new research pre-proposals. These largely deal with maximizing the efficacy of injecting oxytetracycline. “Our Scientific Advisory Committee has looked at all of the pre-proposals and provided comments,” Dantzler said. “The recommendations will be considered at the CRDF board meeting during Florida Citrus Mutual’s conference in Bonita Springs this month. The committee also recommended that UF/IFAS scientist Dr. Nian Wang’s project which seeks to create non-GMO CRISPR-edited trees that are HLB resistant receive its third year of funding. There is a good chance that Wang has what we have been looking for, so now the job is to validate that they will work commercially for growers.”

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