Research Grants Awarded for Citrus Greening Disease

In the war against citrus greening disease, the Department of Agriculture awarded grants last week totaling $13.6 million to projects at four ag research facilities, including one at UC Riverside. There, plant pathologist Caroline Roper plans to use a $5.1 million award to design bactericides to treat huanglongbing (HLB) and kill its associated bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus.

Clemson U is developing HLB-resistant citrus tree varieties with genome editing tools with a $4.2 million grant, Iowa State U received $2.4 million to look into soil bacteria to control the disease-carrying Asian citrus psyllid, and the Ag Research Service in Athens, Georgia, won a grant of $1.8 million to assess the economic viability of chemotherapy options.

The USDA has invested more than $400 million since 2009 to defeat citrus greening, which threatens citrus crops nationwide, from Florida to Texas to California.


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