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
guessing game using walnuts
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [Opinion]
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Cherry Harvest
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Threaten 2016 Crops
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
cash money in hand
Insect & Disease Update
April 22, 2016
USDA Grants $22 Million More To Fund Citrus Greening Fight
The agency has invested more than $380 million between 2009 and 2015 to address devastating disease. Read More
A tattered and wrinkled thank you note
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Better Friend [Opinion]
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
reactive vs. proactive illustration from Florida Department of Citrus
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Citrus
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Citrus
April 20, 2016
USDA Offers $4 Million For Pest Management
Funding to be used to increase crop protection practices, tackle high-priority pests. Read More
Grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms inspects his citrus grove.
Insect & Disease Update
April 18, 2016
Survey: 80% Of Florida Citrus Trees Infected By Deadly Disease
Responding growers claim as much as 90% of their total acreage impacted by greening. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 2, 2016
As Hurricane Season Nears, South Florida…
All basins around the region experience rainfall deficits during April as totals fall far below average. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [O…
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Thr…
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Bett…
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2016
Repeat After Me: I Believe In Florida Ci…
As scientists continue to develop new and innovative ways to combat HLB, we must keep consumers in mind as well. Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2016
USDA Offers $4 Million For Pest Manageme…
Funding to be used to increase crop protection practices, tackle high-priority pests. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2016
Field Tour Provides Reality Check For Fl…
Annual event allows representatives of federal and state agencies to get an up-close look at Florida agriculture. Read More
Citrus
April 15, 2016
What We Know Now About Citrus Nutrition
Greening has changed how growers approach fertilizer programs. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Forecast: Brace For Average Atlantic Hur…
Exiting El Niño setting stage for return to normal storm activity in the tropics. Read More
Citrus
April 14, 2016
Behind The Scenes With Miss Florida Citr…
The industry's newest representative is ready to learn and advocate. Read More
Citrus
April 13, 2016
Regarding Alma Mater Matters, It’s…
You don’t necessarily have to wear your competitive edges on your sleeve to succeed, but without a passion and drive for improvement, what’s the point? Read More
Citrus
April 12, 2016
Latest USDA Forecast Says Florida Orange…
Momentum carries over big time from last month’s elevated expectation in output. Read More
Citrus
April 7, 2016
California Citrus March Attracts Hundred…
First annual Citrus Stride raises 150 tons of fresh citrus for state’s food banks. Read More
Citrus
April 4, 2016
Dry Season Conditions Finally Arrive For…
March rainfall mostly below average around region, breaking string of historically wet weather. Read More
Citrus
April 1, 2016
Citrus Growers Plan March On California …
California Citrus Mutual will host the first annual Citrus Stride to raise awareness of the fruits’ benefits. Read More
Citrus
March 30, 2016
Study: China A Golden Opportunity For Fl…
Consumer education key to cracking new market. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]