Researchers in California have developed an antibiotic to treat huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Huanglongbing, which is caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, has been wreaking havoc on citrus and the citrus industry. It was introduced into Florida around 2005 and made its way to California a few years later, the LA Times notes. But by studying plants with natural resistance, the University of California, Riverside's Hailing Jin may have identified a treatment, it reports.
Jin and her colleagues homed in on genes in the Australian finger lime that contribute to its immunity and a peptide one of the genes produces, according to UC Riverside. When applied to affected plants this peptide-based treatment seems to lead to healthier plants, the press release adds, noting it seems the peptide only has to be applied a few times a year. It additionally notes that UC Riverside has teamed with Invaio Sciences to produce the treatment.
Jin tells the LA Times, though, that the treatment still needs regulatory approval and that a field test in Florida has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.