The effects of citrus greening on leaves. ( Courtesy University of Florida )

Reseachers working on a solution to citrus greening disease, aka huanglongbing (HLB), at the University of Florida, have discovered another possible solution.

New management practices found by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences microbiology and cell science professor Claudio Gonzalez and a team of plant pathologists, horticulturalists and citrus breeders slowed the disease and supported increased yields, according to a university news release.

“Our findings present another solid block of information in the foundation of finding solutions to citrus greening,” Christopher Gardner, a biological scientist who was a member of the research team, said in the release.

The research is the result of a three-year project funded by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture division included greenhouse and field trials, according to the release. Researchers injected trees in greenhouses and fields with solutions of benzbromarone, tolfenamic acid and a combination of the two.

The researchers studied their effectiveness in fighting HLB in sweet orange and white grapefruit trees. The trees injected with a combination of the solutions improved the most, with a 15% increase in fruit growth (by weight).

“Considering that treatments were only administered for one season, we found these results to be remarkable, as reduced fruit size is one of the primary adverse effects of citrus greening disease,” Gardner said in the release.

The treatments didn’t create negative long-term effects that would inhibit fruit safety, according to the release.

Researchers will continue testing compounds similar to the two used in the trial, according to the release

The research was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports. 

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