University of Florida researchers have developed a tool to help growers combat citrus greening: an electronic sensor that can quickly detect whether a tree has been infected.
That early warning could give growers enough lead time to destroy plagued trees and save the rest.
“The current ground inspection is very time-consuming, subjective, and labor intensive, and also requires a lab analysis of leaf samples,” said Daniel Lee, UF professor and developer of the sensor. “Our real-time, in-field detection system can provide objective, fast, and accurate results of the disease detection.”
In 95% to 98% percent of laboratory and field tests, the sensor accurately detected the signs of citrus greening: leaves with veins and splotches that appear a pale shade of gray on the sensor’s images, an obvious contrast to the dark-gray image of healthy leaves.
UF/IFAS researchers used 10 high-powered LEDs and an inexpensive camera to assemble the sensor for a cost of less than $1,000, making it affordable for even small citrus growers, although commercial availability depends on finding a sponsor, Lee said.
Click here to find out how you can access the full UF/IFAS study on the vision sensor.