Susceptibility of Sixteen Citrus Genotypes to ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’

McCollum et al. (2016). Plant Disease 100 (6)
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is the most serious threat to citrus production worldwide and, in the last decade, has devastated the Florida citrus industry. In the United States, HLB is associated with the phloem-limited α-proteobacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ and its insect vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP; Diaphorina citri). Significant effort is being put forth to develop novel citrus germplasm that has a lower propensity to succumb to HLB than do currently available varieties. Effective methods of screening citrus germplasm for susceptibility to HLB are essential. In this study, we exposed small, grafted trees of 16 citrus types to free-ranging ACP vectors and ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ inoculum in the greenhouse. During 45 weeks of exposure to ACP, the cumulative incidence of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ infection was 70%. Trees of Citrus macrophylla and C. medica were most susceptible to ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’, with 100% infection by the end of the test period in three trials, while the complex genetic hybrids ‘US 1-4-59’ and ‘Fallglo’ consistently were least susceptible, with approximately 30% infection. Results obtained in this greenhouse experiment showed good agreement with trends observed in the orchard, supporting the validity of our approach for screening citrus germplasm for susceptibility to HLB.
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