Researchers with UF/IFAS have found a benign bacteria biocontrol that can be used as a new tool to fight citrus greening.

Researchers with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have found a potential new tool for citrus growers fighting citrus greening, according to a Citrus Industry article. The bacteria biocontrol has been shown to slow citrus greening symptoms in trials. See the details below.

Details of the Bacteria Biocontrol

According to the article, the researchers “found that injecting a benign Xylella fastidiosa EB92-1 bacteria biocontrol into infected citrus trees over a period of six years reduced the incidence of trees with severe HLB symptoms.” While the bacteria did not cure the trees of citrus greening, it did lesson the symptoms.

Researchers used commercial groves of Valencia orange and Rios grapefruit in central and eastern Florida in the trials, using trees of varying ages. All were already infected with citrus greening. “Using EB92-1 provided a level of control of HLB in two mature citrus tree trials and in a trial initiated in young 2-year-old trees. This biocontrol strain has the potential to prevent or delay severe symptoms of HLB and prevent the loss of production both in mature and young citrus trees.”

Researchers believe the injected bacteria could be used to slow the progression of citrus greening and extend the production life of citrus trees, as trees treated with it show both a decrease in symptoms and an increase in production, especially when used in combination fertilizer and pesticide best management practices.

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