By Sarah Nightingale on April 30, 2018
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have made an important step in understanding the molecular mechanism of huanglongbing (HLB), a destructive disease that is a serious threat to the citrus industry worldwide.
HLB, also known as citrus greening disease, has devastated groves in Asia, South America, and the southern U.S., costing the Florida citrus industry billions of dollars since 2005. Since 2012, the disease has been spreading in California’s residential areas, prompting serious concerns about the state’s commercial citrus groves.
HLB is associated with a species of bacteria called Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), which is transmitted by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Infected trees show leaf mottling, deformed and discolored fruits, and premature fruit drop. There is no cure for the disease and once a tree is infected it typically dies within three to five years.
An important step to developing HLB-resistant citrus varieties is to better understand how the bacterium infects trees and causes disease. Read on ...