What is in this article?:
- A U.S. research collaboration is under way, funded in part through a $9 million USDA grant, which has the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) pest directly in the crosshairs.
University of Arizona scientist Judith Brown uses knowledge gained from research on the potato psyllid on tomato plants in her ground-breaking work to control the Asian citrus psyllid in the fight against the disease Huanglongbing in citrus.
Other research scientists searching for psyllid answers include:
Bruce Hay - California Technical Institute: Chromosomal driver system;
Bryce Falk - University of California, Davis: Viral driver system;
Kirsten Peltz-Stelinski - University of Florida: Bacterial driver system;
Robert Shatters – USDA-ARS: Effector mechanism - Genetic sequence library approach;
Joseph Patt, USDA-ARS: Rear, release, and monitor;
Neil McRoberts, University of California, Davis: Socio-economics/modeling;
Elizabeth Grafton Cardwell – University of California, Riverside: Public outreach/Extension.
In addition to saving the citrus industry, another reason to solve the psyllid-disease issue is to reduce the use of pesticides currently applied to citrus trees for psyllid control.
In Brazil, citrus growers can spray trees every two weeks for psyllid control. In Florida, 10 or more sprays annually in some mature groves are common to gain control.
In California and Arizona, insecticidal applications have focused on psyllids found primarily in residential citrus trees.
“The solution to the ACP-HLB problem will not be one silver bullet but rather a combination of strategies and methods,” Polek said.
The results of this cooperative project will be one aspect of the biological control strategy. Psyllids which cannot transmit the lethal bacteria will be released in urban areas along with parasitic wasps which will prevent the spread of the disease.
People will still be able to grow citrus in yards without the continuous application of conventional pesticides, Polek says.
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