CITRUS GREENING, or Huanglongbing (HLB), was first observed in South Florida infecting backyard citrus in 2005. By the beginning of 2009, the disease had spread to every major citrus-producing county in Florida. The Asian citrus psyllid is a carrier of the disease, transmitting it to healthy citrus plants through feeding. Plants and materials can also transmit the bacteria even when no psyllids are visible making it a huge threat to citrus worldwide.
The estimated damage over the past five years in Florida amounts to more than $1 billion per year, with nearly 5,000 jobs lost, according to a University of Florida study published earlier this year on the management strategies and economic impacts of citrus greening.
For over a decade, growers and researchers have been looking for effective treatments against this bacterium. However, there are limited strategies or treatment options to date that are proven to effectively control citrus greening in a feasible and sustainable approach.
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