USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced four grants totaling more than $13.6 million to combat a scourge on the nation’s citrus industry, Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease.
University of California, Riverside, will receive $5,112,000 of the funding for a program to design and identify bactericides that can cure or suppress HLB.
HLB was first detected in Florida in 2005 and has since affected all of its citrus-producing areas leading to a 75% decline in the state’s $10 billion citrus industry.
HLB has also been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as three residential communities in Southern California. Fifteen U.S. states or territories, including California, are under full or partial quarantine due to the presence of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a vector for HLB.
Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $400 million to address HLB, including more than $57 million through the Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program since 2014. Other projects in the current grant award include:
- Clemson University, Clemson, SC, $4,274,523
- Iowa State University, Ames, IA, $2,476,099
- USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Athens, GA, $1,821,197
More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website. Information on efforts to control ACP and stop HLB in California is available on CDFA’s website and the California Citrus Threat website.