Citrus Greening in Grenada

Citrus Greening, also known as Huanglongbing, was first confirmed in Grenada in 2016. The disease is caused by bacteria which are spread by the Citrus psyllid. The disease causes yellow blotchy mottling on leaves, small lopsided fruit and branch dieback, making the tree uneconomical. Due to Citrus greening’s potential to devastate Citrus yields, Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture has launched a campaign to control the disease, which has been detected in almost every area of the island. In the video above, Thaddeus Peters, Agricultural Officer for the MoA’s Pest Management Unit, explains the importance and methods of controlling Citrus Greening.  Continue reading

Citrus greening detected in Trinidad

Fruit affected by Huanglongbing
Fruit affected by Huanglongbing (USDA)

Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as Citrus greening, has been confirmed in Trinidad for the first time. The disease, which was detected on leaves from a lime tree in the north of the island, can cause devastating yield loss for Citrus growers and is regarded as one of the most important threats to global commercial and sustainable citrus production.  Continue reading

Update: Plant Health News (03 Feb 16)

Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)
Huanglongbing can be fatal for citrus trees (Source:USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the new parasitic wasp that can detect aphid infestation, the effect that El Niño will have on avocado in Peru and the threat of Huanglongbing (HLB) on agriculture in Colombia.

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Update: Plant Health News (20 Jan 16)

Scientists are studying a number of wild banana varieties to help in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International
Wild bananas could be key in the fight against TR4. Photo: Vezina, Anne / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the wild bananas that could help overcome TR4 Panama disease, the effect of El Niño on potato crops in Peru and the farmers in Tanzania who are being urged to grown drought resistant crops.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!

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Citrus greening threatens Floridian groves

Symptoms of citrus greening on citrus leaf
Symptoms of citrus greening on citrus leaf © CABI

Mabel Smith is an Oxfordshire school student, studying both the arts and the sciences. She is interning at CABI for Plantwise and the marketing department.

The disease, citrus greening, which is also known as huanglongbing and caused by the fastidious bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter, continues to cause problems for Floridian growers this week. The psyllids that spread this pathogen are now running rampage throughout more than half of Florida’s citrus producing counties, causing an expected 20% decline in  harvest. Over the last 20 years around 60 million citrus trees have been abandoned across half a million acres of land due to this rapidly spreading and, so far, incurable disease. Citrus greening has already caused irreversible damage in Asia and South America and many growers in Florida are giving up on the citrus market altogether to turn to more reliable alternatives like peach growing. Despite this, many growers are still optimistic and millions of dollars are currently being invested in further agricultural research into a cure.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (11 Jun 14)

Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4, associated with Panama wilt, has been identified outside Southeast Asia © Scot Nelson (CC BY-SA)
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4, has been identified outside Southeast Asia © Scot Nelson (CC BY-SA)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include Phytophthora cinnamomi in the rhizosphere of agricultural crops in southern Bahia (Brazil),  the first report of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 associated with Panama disease of banana outside Southeast Asia and the first report of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ associated with Huanglongbing on Persian lime in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

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Anti-Terror Measures Allow Pest Explosion

Since 9/11 the number of invasive pests and plant diseases managing to slip into the USA has risen dramatically. Border checkpoints normally act as a first line of defence against these pests and diseases, however the increased emphasis on anti-terrorism measures has led to agricultural issues being ignored. This costs the USA a staggering $120 billion (approximately £75 billion) per year and is threatening some of the country’s most productive agricultural regions.

Homeland Security checking food imports (Eric Risberg/AP)

The increase in the number of invasive pests and plant diseases was triggered by an increased focus on anti-terrorism measures at the expense of agricultural protection. The biggest problem was the reassignment of hundreds of agricultural scientists to the newly-formed Homeland Security department after 9/11. This meant that instead of stopping invasive species at the border they were now involved in anti-terrorism duties. Many of the scientists resigned or retired and those that remained were replaced in the chain of command by officials with little knowledge of agricultural science.

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