Teenager Awarded for Investigation of Alternative Trunk-Injection Treatment

Daniel CooperAwards, HLB Management, Research

Tanishka Balaji Aglave is studying trunk injection of curry leaf extract is an HLB treatment.
Photo credit: Society for Science

Tanishka Balaji Aglave of Valrico, Florida, received the $10,000 H. Robert Horvitz Prize for Fundamental Research for her investigation into a natural alternative treatment against citrus greening disease (known as huanglongbing, or HLB).

Aglave, a 15-year-old who attends Strawberry Crest High School and grew up on a citrus farm, injected the trunks of infected citrus trees with an extract from the curry leaf tree. The curry leaf tree, Murraya koenigii, is highly attractive to the Asian citrus psyllid, which vectors the bacterial causative agent of HLB, but it is not a carrier of the disease. In Aglave’s experiment, curry leaf extract was used to treat HLB-infected trees through trunk injection, with oxytetracycline as the standard control.

She found through tests that this potential method could effectively and sustainably manage HLB. The experiment will be repeated in the coming season to validate the current findings, and experimental plants will be observed for the next two years as a continuation of the experiment.

See a summary of Aglave’s research here.

The H. Robert Horvitz Prize for Fundamental Research is awarded to the project that represents the best in fundamental research which furthers understanding of science and/or mathematics. The project promotes the understanding of natural phenomena without clearly defined applications toward processes or products in mind. The winner will use the award to cover post-secondary educational expenses.

The award is named for 2002 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine or Physiology, H. Robert Horvitz, who served as chair of the Society for Science’s board of trustees from 2010 to 2019. Horvitz is the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a neurobiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, a member of the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research and a member of the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

Source: Society for Science

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