University, citrus board show off California research - The Packer

University, citrus board show off California research

02/14/2013 11:15:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

TULARE, Calif. — More than 100,000 people were expected to attend the World Ag Expo, Tulare, Calif., during its three-day run.

click image to zoomVicky BoydThe University of California citrus breeding program at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center showed off some of the varieties it has on its grounds.The University of California took advantage of such a large audience to show off its citrus breeding program headquartered at the nearby Lindcove Research and Extension Center.

Beth Grafton-Caldwell, a UC citrus entomologist, also discussed some of the university’s latest research on a device that sniffs the air around citrus trees and can determine whether they’re infected with citrus greening, also called huanglongbing or HLB.

Diseased trees emit a different mix of chemicals than healthy trees, she said.

The Visalia, Calif., based Citrus Research Board, housed in the same exhibit, helped educate attendees about the threat to the state’s citrus posed by the Asian citrus psyllid.

The minute insect pest has invaded Southern California but has only been picked up in three traps in the San Joaquin Valley, the state’s major citrus-producing region.

In response, the state has enacted two restricted zones, one around Lindsay and Strathmore and the other around Terra Bella, to try to eradicate the pest before it becomes established.

The board and its president, Ted Batkins, also showed off a pinhead-sized stingless wasp they hope will help control the pest in Southern California.

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