- The fight against greening disease disease ravaging the worldwide citrus industry has found an unexpected weapon: spinach.
From the Tennessean:
In a lab not far from the Mexican border, the fight against a disease ravaging the worldwide citrus industry has found an unexpected weapon: spinach.
A scientist at Texas A&M's Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center is moving a pair of bacteria-fighting proteins naturally occurring in spinach into citrus trees to fight a scourge commonly known as citrus greening. The disease hasn't faced this defense before and intensive greenhouse testing so far indicates the genetically enhanced trees are immune to its advances.
Next month, dozens of young sweet orange and grapefruit trees developed by Texas plant pathologist Erik Mirkov will be planted near Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida to see how they fare in a commercial citrus grove.
"Some of these growers in Florida, they say 'If you can't have something for us in five years, if you tell me it's going to take eight, we're dead'," Mirkov said.
To hurry along the process, Mirkov and Southern Gardens Citrus, a subsidiary of U.S. Sugar that is funding his research, are pursuing government regulatory approvals while field testing continues.
For more, see: Why spinach could be potent weapon against citrus disease