NIFA nuPsyllid Project:
Rear and Release Psyllids as Biological Control Agents- An Economic and Feasible Mid-term Solution for Huanglongbing (HLB) Disease of Citrus
The goal of this project is to employ a coordinated, multidisciplinary, systems-based approach to stop the spread of the economically crippling citrus disease Huonglongbing (HLB), aka Citrus greening. HLB damages yields and fruit quality and can cause tree death; 2006-2011 models estimate an economic loss of $3.6 billion in Florida alone. HLB is associated with a fastidious, phloem-limited bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiactius (CLas) transmitted by the insect Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorinia citri. Our plan is to replace wild type psyllid populations with one incapable of vectoring the disease and to deploy this introduced psyllid in a way that displaces the wild population currently threatening U.S. citrus production. We will also address methods of deployment to block invasions of the ACP into regions of the U.S. that are not currently infected but are at risk of invasion from neighboring countries or states. Our team includes biological, physical, and socio-economic expertise, coordinated to adapt current technological strategies successful in other insect-vectored disease control campaigns, into a deployable, monitorable strategy to manage or eliminate the spread of HLB and sustain the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. citrus production.
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