A researcher with UF/IFAS shared details on Zinkicide as a citrus greening management tool that could potentially help citrus growers to manage the disease in the future.
Citrus growers are looking for any cure or tool that will help them to fight citrus greening, also known as HLB. Bactericides were touted as a solid option, but most growers have not seen as much success with them yet. Researcher Evan Johnson with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) shared the potential of Zinkicide as a future citrus greening management tool during a presentation sponsored by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) following the foundation’s May meeting. Read the details of the presentation from a CitrusIndustry.net article, below.
Zinkicide as a Citrus Greening Management Tool
Citrus greening is caused by a bacterium called Liberibacter. As a citrus greening management tool, Zinkicide helps the citrus tree to fight the Liberibacter bacteria inside the citrus, according to Johnson. ““Zinkicide is a zinc-based nanoparticle that is designed to become systemic inside the tree and has high bactericidal activity so that hopefully it can target Liberibacter,” Johnson was quoted as saying in the article.
“This is not something that’s going to cure the tree,” Johnson said, per the article. “It will become a management tool that will keep the bacterial population low in the tree and will hopefully allow for good fruit production and keep the health of the new growth as long as possible so that the tree can maintain a productive life through profitability for the grower.”
One of the main goals of the research was to transform Zinkicide into an “agricultural-grade particle that could be cost effective for growers,” according to the article. “Once we finished that transition, we saw about a 50 percent yield increase,” Johnson said, according to the article. Many citrus growers would welcome a 50 percent yield increase with open arms.
The next step in getting Zinkicide into the hands of citrus growers as a citrus greening management tool would be to get EPA approval, just like bactericides.
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