Developing novel biological delivery methods for therapeutic agents and other biomolecules to enhance production of citrus
Symbionts, grafted to crop plants (surgically attached to connect to plant tissues) for biomolecule delivery throughout the plants, produce therapeutic molecules in a manner which optimizes their commercial benefits.
Symbionts have been shown to alleviate citrus greening symptoms in small citrus trees in the greenhouse, and discussions with APHIS are underway to conduct field evaluations. More
Accelerating implementation of HLB-tolerant hybrids as new commercial cultivars for fresh and processed citrus
This project includes validation of HLB-tolerance in the field, identification of genetic markers associated with tolerance to expedite varietal screening, and characterization of the fruit and juice quality of the tolerant selections.
Tasting panel tests confirmed the superior orange-like flavor of U.S. SunDragon and Sugar Belle, and verified their suitability for blending with sweet-orange juice. More
Development of antimicrobial peptides from citrus to kill the CLas bacterium causing HLB
Our overall goal is to suppress CLas and maintain health in HLB-affected citrus. All organisms produce many peptides (small proteins), which serve many functions, including some unrelated to disease resistance.
These citrus-derived AMPs have shown excellent activity against CLas in the lab and greenhouse. The goal of this NIFA project is to evaluate their efficacy as killing agents against CLas and therapeutics for existing infected trees to sustain commercial citrus production. In addition, we are developing trees that themselves express these AMPs to provide a form of HLB resistance. More