A UF/IFAS researcher shares the latest on citrus greening solutions and the amount of time it might take for growers to see these solutions.

Citrus growers are clamoring for citrus greening solutions that combat citrus greening, and many promising solutions have been discovered in the last few years. UF/IFAS professor Fred Gmitter shared the latest information on possible solutions to citrus greening and the time it might take for growers to see these solutions available for use during a recent American Seed Trade Association webinar and shared in a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

Citrus Greening Solutions

“We learn a lot more every day that goes by. There are labs all around the world looking at different kinds of solutions for citrus greening,” Gmitter said in the article. Solutions include:

  • Citrus Peptides. “Very recently, there’s been talk about a peptide that’s produced by a kind of citrus called Microcitrus that seems to be able to kill the bacteria. It’s being tested right now, and if it turns out to be reality, we may have a solution within the next two years.” Gmitter said in the article. He cautioned that researchers have been looking into peptides for 15 years, so there are no guarantees that peptides will be a solution.
  • Gene Editing. “It’s very likely that we’re going to find a gene editing solution within the next two to three years. That sounds like a long time, but citrus trees are difficult to work with. It’s a long process,” Gmitter said in the article.

Gmitter maintained that the process for finding a solution to citrus greening is a long process. “The bottlenecks are, once we find something and we test it in the lab and we test it in the greenhouse, again we have to go to the field and do some long-term field testing to confirm that it’s going to be durable; to confirm that we haven’t created any other changes in the performance of the plant that might be deleterious. Assuming all of that goes as quickly as possible, we then need to look at ramping up the supply of plant material because we’re not collecting citrus seeds and planting them in the field and seeing a tree six weeks later like we would with a vegetable crop,” he said.

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