Citrus Greening, or HLB, is a problem that the best and the brightest minds are working on in Florida, and a recent piece in a National Public Radio article suggests that a remedy for the citrus greening bacteria is soon to come. If it’s indeed the solution the industry and all of Florida has been praying for, then the news is the best of all.
According to the article, a researcher and professor with UF/IFAS’s Citrus Research and Education Center, Dr. Jude Grosser, believes the salvation of Florida’s citrus industry lies with a HLB-infected tree located outside of Lakeland in Polk County. Though the tree is indeed infected with the bacteria that causes citrus greening, it seems to have an increased tolerance for the devastating symptoms of citrus greening. The tree itself is said to have been infected with HLB for nearly half a dozen years and it still produces fruit of such a high quality that the oranges have been used as Christmas gifts to UF administrators for the past two years, according to Dr. Grosser.
Named the “mother tree,” the hope is that the tree’s natural tolerance to citrus greening can be discovered and replicated in other trees, though it is a process that takes time. While researchers such as Dr. Grosser utilize methods that equate to a marathon rather than a sprint, many other researchers are looking into more short-term therapies, such as delivering antibiotics or treating infected trees with heat. While there is no magic bullet yet, there are many working to restore Florida’s citrus industry, and a cure or treatment could be just around the corner.
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