- Author: Chris M. Webb
Research to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), the deadly citrus disease carried by the Asian citrus psyllid, is taking place throughout our nation and the world. Industry-wide urgency is funding a variety of research in search of a solution.
In 2010 a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that genetic engineering “holds the greatest hope”. A promising genetic engineering study, developed by a scientist at Texas A&M’s Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center is moving into the field testing stage.
Using spinach defensin proteins to help protect citrus trees and then exposing the trees to the bacterium, lab and greenhouse studies show infection rates are very low even when the trees are exposed to higher concentrations of infected insects then would be found in a commercial grove. The type of defensing protein used in the study can be found in plants, insects and mammals.
To learn more please see the AP article, Spinach could be weapon against citrus scourge.