News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

Florida Researchers Develop Greening-Resistant Citrus Trees

University of Florida researchers say they have developed genetically modified citrus trees that are resistant to greening. It is a significant step against the disease that has devastated Florida's $11 billion citrus industry and is among the worst to hit a US crop. Researchers developed the trees using a plant gene from the mustard family.

But Jack Payne of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says the trees still face a regulatory process that will delay their availability by several years.

"I hesitate to use the word, cure, but this is a giant step forward", Payne said.

Greening is spread by a tiny insect called a psyllid. The disease starves trees of nutrients, rendering their fruit unsuitable for sale. Most infected trees eventually die.

Researchers say the trees also show resistance to canker and black spot.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.