Pheromone-Based Psyllid Control Not Viable

Daniel Cooper Brazil, Psyllids, Research

Studies with psyllid pheromones show that the insect’s behavior is altered when it is infected by the HLB-causing bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter (CLas). This makes it difficult to produce a commercial psyllid-control product based on the insect pheromone, Brazil’s Fundecitrus has concluded. “The sexual pheromone is an attractant produced by the female of the species, which promotes behavioral changes in male …


Study Analyzes the Economics of Cover Crops

Daniel Cooper Cover Crops, Economics, Research

In the face of HLB in Florida, a recent study delved into the economic viability of incorporating cover crops in citrus groves to enhance soil health and overall tree well-being. Shourish Chakravarty and Tara Wade wrote an article, Cost Analysis of Using Cover Crops in Citrus Production, about the study. Both authors are with the University of Florida Institute of …

Crop Transformation Center

Crop Transformation Center Takes Aim at HLB Resistance

Daniel Cooper Breeding, HLB Management, Research

By Frank Giles The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has established itself as a leader in new technological frontiers like artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the school has the 15th most powerful computer in the world. The HiPerGator, as the computer is called, will assist in AI development and on many other technological fronts. Another …

Updates on FDOC Research Projects

Tacy Callies Florida Citrus Commission, Florida Department of Citrus, Research

Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) members on Jan. 17 heard an update on one recent Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) scientific research project and learned about some future research plans. Rosa Walsh, FDOC director of scientific research, presented the information. PROGRAM FOR EXPEDITED PROPAGATIONWalsh reported that the 2022–23 Program for Expedited Propagation of HLB Tolerant and Resistant Trees was successful. She …


New Discovery About Asian Citrus Psyllids

Daniel Cooper HLB Management, Psyllids, Research

A failed field test has led to a major discovery about Asian citrus psyllids (ACP). According to new research, the bacterium that causes HLB disease can interfere with ACP’s sense of smell, rendering some kinds of insect traps useless. The work is currently available as a preprint. HLB, also known as citrus greening, is caused by the Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium. …

Starting in the Grove to Find New HLB Therapies

Tacy Callies HLB Management, Research

By Randall P. Niedz, Guilherme Locatelli, Nick Larson, Lorenzo Rossi, Ellen Cochrane and Michelle Heck Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) developed an idea to bypass lab assays and test molecules directly in the field for their ability to solve HLB. As part of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant (number 2020-70029-33176), …

Taking a ‘Long Shot’ at HLB-Tolerant Grapefruit

Tacy Callies Citrus, Grapefruit, HLB Management, Research

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his team are hopeful that some so-called “long-shot” varieties will pay off in the effort to find HLB-tolerant grapefruit. Matthew Mattia of the USDA Agricultural Research Services (ARS) U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, found the varieties at the A.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm in Groveland, Florida. The varieties are Florida …

Studying the Mechanisms for HLB Tolerance

Tacy Callies All In For Citrus Podcast, Research, Varieties

John Chater has been on the job now for two years, working with growers to evaluate variety performance in field trials. In the latest All In For Citrus podcast episode, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) assistant professor discusses his work, including grower collaboration to study new varieties in real-world environments. Chater also talks about …

California Researchers Seek HLB Tolerance

Tacy Callies California Corner, HLB Management, Research

University of California, Riverside (UCR) has received three federal grants totaling more than $11 million for research focused on instilling HLB-tolerance in citrus trees. The grants are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The funding was enabled by the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, which authorized the Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development …

New Research on Neonicotinoids for Psyllids

Tacy Callies Brazil, Psyllids, Research

Continuing Brazilian research into the application of neonicotinoids via drench for control of HLB-spreading psyllids shows higher efficacy than earlier results indicated. In September, Fundecitrus released preliminary results on the application of neonicotinoids via drench. At that time, tests carried out on a property in Casa Branca, São Paulo, showed that the efficiency of the molecules for this type of …

Research Team Aims for HLB Resistance/Tolerance

Tacy Callies HLB Management, Research

A team led by Clemson University is receiving a second multimillion-dollar federal grant to continue research into HLB. Feng Luo, the Marvin J. Pinson, Jr. ’46 Distinguished Professor in the School of Computing, is the principal investigator. The project is funded with $4.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). Co-principal investigators …


Improved Monitoring of Citrus Maturity

Daniel Cooper International, Research

A new approach developed primarily by Chinese researchers allows for more precise monitoring of citrus fruit development and optimal harvest timing. A key to improving citrus fruit quality and post-harvest processes is understanding citrus color change, a critical indicator of fruit maturity that is traditionally gauged by human judgment. Recent machine vision and neural network advancements offer more objective and …


Australia Seeks Vaccine-Like Solution to CTV

Daniel Cooper Diseases, International, Research

Australian scientists are developing a vaccine-like solution to arm citrus growers with an effective way to combat citrus tristeza virus (CTV), a significant challenge for the Australian citrus industry.  The $1.5 million initiative is being delivered through Hort Innovation and collaboratively led by the University of Queensland, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Auscitrus. Researchers …

OJ Break

OJ Break Focused on CRISPR and Emerging Pests

Daniel Cooper Breeding, Pests, Research

In mid-November, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center hosted an OJ Break educational program in Lake Alfred. Attendees were provided with research updates on CRISPR gene editing and emerging pests. Nian Wang, a UF/IFAS professor of microbiology and cell science, spoke on his work with CRISPR technology. He provided insight …

New Decay Control Options on the Horizon for Florida Citrus

Josh McGill Fresh, Research

By Mark A. Ritenour and Jiuxu Zhang Preventing decay of fresh fruit has always been critical for a successful citrus industry. Prior to citrus greening (huanglongbing or HLB) in Florida, effective decay control practices were well established. These practices fueled Florida’s robust fresh domestic and export citrus sales, allowing shipping durations of 21 days or more. Since the establishment of …

Millennium Block Drive-Thru Highlights

Josh McGill Events, Indian River, Research

Florida citrus growers and researchers arrived from Davie, Bartow, Lakeland, Plant City, Fellsmere and Gainesville to view more than 5,500 trees of several new citrus varieties. Some of the trees are showing initial tolerance to citrus greening.   The occasion was the Millennium Block Drive-Thru at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Indian River Research and …

Trekking Toward HLB-Resistant Trees

Josh McGill Breeding, HLB Management, Research

By Michael Rogers Much has been discussed recently about the promise and potential of utilizing CRISPR technology to create HLB-resistant trees for Florida’s citrus growers. The primary objective in citrus gene editing is to develop new varieties that are resistant to HLB disease while remaining non-transgenic. To achieve this goal, researchers make alterations to or eliminate specific genes within the …

UGA to Hire Citrus Researchers Next Year

Josh McGill Georgia, Research

Georgia citrus growers will soon have research support from the University of Georgia (UGA), says Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association and member of the Georgia Citrus Commission. She confirmed the news at the recent Cold Hardy Citrus Field Day at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) North Florida Research and Education Center …

$5 Million Awarded to UF/IFAS for HLB Research

Josh McGill HLB Management, Research

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has been awarded five federal grants totaling more than $5 million to control HLB. The grants are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).   HLB is caused by the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). The Asian citrus psyllid can transmit CLas into a …

CRAFT Public Dashboard Offers a Look at Trials and Results

Josh McGill CRAFT, Research

By Tina Buice The Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program was created in 2019. Its work was centered on the mission of moving lab and research solutions into groves for commercial-scale field trials, collecting data on those trials and creating an integrated data management solution to present the results. Four years later, with more than 10,000 acres of new …