As citrus greening continues to devastate Florida's citrus crop, researchers think they've discovered a way to gain new insights into the disease, which, in turn, could help the industry finally defeat it.
So far, researchers have been unable to isolate the bacteria that causes greening; to study the disease researchers have been forced to grow trees, then study their roots. But now, Texas A&M AgriLife Research is reporting promise in rapidly culturing and reproducing the pathogens and microbes that cause the disease in the laboratory.
The breakthrough, announced last week, could be a game-changer, industry officials said. While it doesn't cure the disease in and of itself, the research could allow the industry to "more efficiently and cost effectively find a workable defense against fastidious pathogens and microbes like citrus greening.”
Any progress is welcome news in the fight against greening, which is spread by tiny Asian citrus psyllid and has decimated the state's citrus crop. According to eu.tcpalm.com, it has lost more than 60 percent of its production since the 2003-04 growing season.