Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are researching ways to combat a devastating disease that has the potential to wipe out all citrus trees within 10 to 15 years. The disease is called huanglongbing or HLB — more commonly known as citrus greening. It causes the dying trees’ fruit to turn bitter-tasting and green. HLB has decimated groves in Asia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Florida, and is now spreading in California. State agriculture officials have detected HLB in more than 1,500 trees, a number that grows by about 60 each week as officials inspect and remove trees.
The story features experts in food science, plant pathology and engineering including:
Carolyn Slupsky, a UC Davis professor of nutrition and food science. She is researching the chemical fingerprint of leaves as a way to improve early detection of citrus greening.
Neil McRoberts, a UC Davis plant epidemiologist and scientific advisor to the Citrus Research Board of California. He can speak to the spread of the disease in California.
Cristina Davis, a UC Davis professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering. She has developed technology to help in the fight against citrus greening.
Gitta Coaker, a UC Davis professor in plant pathology. She is developing ways to test citrus plants for disease resistance at a very early stage.