HLB Research Innovation And Frustrations Go Hand In Hand

Bobby Barben of Barben Fruit Co. in his grove

Editor’s Note: This is the first in series of six Q&As with the 2013 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Bobby Barben. The Avon Park-based grower also serves as the chairman of the Research Management Committee of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF).

What are some innovative ways the CRDF is encouraging research for solutions to HLB?

 

A: “We put on a contest in which we asked researchers to send us materials that might have antibiotic activity against HLB. The contest would reward some funding for further research on materials that appeared promising. We received about 100 different submissions, and out of those, 10 or 12 showed some sort of activity against the bacteria.
Now the question is can we find a cost-effective way to get these materials delivered into the trees? Will it kill the HLB bacteria and clean out the phloem in the tree where the bacteria moves? I believe there is a time stamp on all these HLB-infected trees, so we’ve got to come up with some breakthroughs to help keep them alive. The contest was just one way to facilitate finding new ideas and potential solutions to HLB.

What are some of the most frustrating research challenges in the fight against HLB?

A: Overall, for growers, we want solutions now and it is hard to accept the rigors of scientific work. We’ve thrown a lot of money at the problem and want to see results fast, but unfortunately, sometimes science doesn’t work that way. Each project builds our knowledge for the next project. I honestly believe we will find a game-changer related to HLB. I just hope it comes quickly enough to save some farms on the edge.

Probably one of most specific examples of frustration has been our inability to culture the bacteria, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, which causes HLB. We are fortunate that Dr. Michael Davis and his group at UF/IFAS have cultured Liberibacter crescens, which has about 70% overlap to the HLB bacteria. It could help us learn more and get closer to get a good culture. This is a pure science play and a ways off from help in our groves, but it would represent a big breakthrough.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
young lady goofing around with orange slices for eyes
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory For Florida Oranges
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
two glass goblets of olive oil
Citrus
February 4, 2016
Can Olive Oil Grease Skids For Florida’s Slipping Citrus Trade?
Researchers, interested growers help launch new industry. Read More
Sunkist organic lemons being harvested at the Donlon Ranch in Ventura County, CA by Jane and Ned Donlon, 5th and 6th generation growers, respectively.
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Sunkist Expands Organic Portfolio
With the organic citrus sector growing three times as fast as conventional, the 123-year-old cooperative is keeping up with the times. Read More
money
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
Flooded vegetable field in South Florida
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Historic Rainfall Hampering South Florida Farms
El Niño express delivering floods, uncertainty for crops. Read More
Rainy welcome at 2016 Florida Citrus Show
Citrus
February 1, 2016
Growers, Industry Leaders Weather The Storm At 2016 Florida Citrus Show
Not even an El Niño-fueled, two-day soaker can keep a flood of attendees from the annual gathering. Read More
A female Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis shown here is one wasp that specifically targets the Asian citrus psyllid. (Photo credit: Mike Lewis, CISR, UC-Riverside.)
Insect & Disease Update
January 29, 2016
Biology Meets Asian Citrus Psyllid Control
A team of researchers is studying two targeted parasitoid wasps to help prevent the spread of Asian citrus psyllid in the state. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 12, 2016
There’s No Excuse For Farmers To B…
Studies show if you're not watching the weather, you should be. Read More
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus …
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Citrus
February 4, 2016
Can Olive Oil Grease Skids For Florida’s…
Researchers, interested growers help launch new industry. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Sunkist Expands Organic Portfolio
With the organic citrus sector growing three times as fast as conventional, the 123-year-old cooperative is keeping up with the times. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Historic Rainfall Hampering South Florid…
El Niño express delivering floods, uncertainty for crops. Read More
Citrus
February 1, 2016
Growers, Industry Leaders Weather The St…
Not even an El Niño-fueled, two-day soaker can keep a flood of attendees from the annual gathering. Read More
Citrus
January 23, 2016
Too Much Cheerleading Has EPA In Deep Wa…
These days, far too often, elected representatives of the people are abdicating their responsibilities to federal agencies. The result is rules like WOTUS. Read More
Citrus
January 22, 2016
It’s Official: 2015 Was Earth’s Wa…
NASA, NOAA analyses reveal record-shattering statistics regarding global temperatures this past year. Read More
Citrus
January 21, 2016
Chance Of Profits Up For Growers Tuned I…
UF/IFAS study confirms how paying attention to the 10-day forecast can affect a farmer’s bottom line. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2016
Agriculture Agents Intercept Invasive Be…
Notorious wood borer hitched a ride in a container of cucumbers arriving from Costa Rica. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2016
USDA Report: Pesticide Residues Not A Fo…
Following monthly samplings, survey finds more than 99% of products sampled fall below EPA tolerances for pesticide residues. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2016
Let’s Raise A Glass To FloridaR…
Challenges with unique solutions are needed to make the agriculture sector stronger. Read More
Citrus
January 18, 2016
Farming Fertility Practices Evolving Wit…
Improving water quality while maintaining production is being achieved in American agriculture. Read More
Citrus
January 16, 2016
3 Products To Better Serve Your Soil
Check out a sampling of the latest soil health enhancers. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2016
Emphasis On Soil Health Moving Growers T…
There are benefits to be gained by taking care of what lies beneath. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2016
Port Tampa Bay Embarks On Big Plans To M…
Opportunities for growers abound as the Panama Canal doubles its capacity. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]