A UF/IFAS researcher is studying how citrus greening acts within a citrus tree to better understand how to combat the disease.

Amit Levy, an assistant professor with UF/IFAS and a plant pathologist at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, shared his information in an All in for Citrus podcast, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

Research on How Citrus Greening Acts

“We don’t understand enough of the disease process and the interaction of the bacteria and the plant. Our project is to really gain more knowledge,” Levy said in the article.

Researchers know that the citrus greening bacteria, CLas, the causal agent of citrus greening, is found in the citrus trees’ phloem. Phloem is like the veins of a plant. In citrus trees, the phloem tissue is small and narrow, and it’s hard to reach. Levy maintained in the article that “The bacteria is found in a very strange, sporadic way; it’s not equally distributed…”

Levy also found that citrus greening leads to damaging blockage in the citrus trees’ phloem. “It’s (phloem) the vein of the tree, and they (veins) are getting blocked, and energy doesn’t go where it needs to go, and the tree declines,” he said, adding that the blockage is the citrus trees’ defense against citrus greening.

“If we can find a way to open those veins … and let the tree roots move the sugars and the nutrients and get stronger, that can help the tree survive,” Levy said in the article.

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