Technology reveals citrus greening-infected trees

Aug 08, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are using a technology known as "Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflection" (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy to rapidly identify with 95 percent accuracy citrus plant leaves infected with the devastating disease known as citrus greening.

Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Plant Pathology Research Unit in Fort Pierce, Fla., and the agency's Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit in Athens, Ga., collaborated on the use of FTIR-ATR spectroscopy to identify in plants. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA, and this work supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Citrus plants are highly susceptible to citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing. The disease was discovered in Florida in 2005 and is rapidly spreading in the citrus-growing regions of the state. Fruit from infected trees drops prematurely or fails to ripen.

The current method for detecting citrus greening-infected trees is a type of called , which is both costly and time-consuming. FTIR uses light to identify chemicals and reactions in a sample. This technology has the potential to detect the disease before visible symptoms occur, and it is cheaper and faster than the DNA testing.

To test for the presence of the disease, researchers removed a leaf from a , dried it out in a microwave, and ground it into a powder. A very small sample of the leaf powder was placed on top of an ATR plate. The system clearly distinguished citrus greening-infected leaves from healthy leaves. The scientists say more work will be need to diferentiate between leaves infected with citrus greening and those infected with other citrus diseases.

The Fort Pierce team included physical scientist Gavin Poole and research leader Tim Gottwald, while the Athens team was comprised of chemist Samantha Hawkins, engineer Bosoon Park, physiologist William Windham and research leader Kurt Lawrence.

Results of this research were published in Applied Spectroscopy in 2010.

Explore further: India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures

Provided by United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Yellowdragon threatens Florida citrus

Oct 15, 2005

Yellow dragon disease, which is also called citrus greening, has been found in southeast Florida and appears to be spreading, agricultural authorities say.

Test Detects Insect Carriers of Citrus Greening Disease

Oct 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- With their pleasing flavor, cheerful color, and health-imparting dose of vitamin C, it's not surprising that oranges are one of America's Top 10 favorite fruits. But some of the nation's citrus ...

Destructive citrus greening disease affecting Florida

Mar 23, 2010

Urgency, cooperation, and persistent management are needed among producers, processors, government officials, and scientists while solutions are developed and implemented to combat the citrus greening disease threatening ...

Recommended for you

Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

20 hours ago

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...