Citrus Greening in China and South East Asia

Citrus Greening in China and South East Asia

Citrus greening also referred to as huanglongbing, is a disease that affects citrus production across the globe (Rumble, 2016). The symptoms of plants with this disease is that they cannot obtain sufficient nutrients from the soil, the twigs die back, the leaves turn yellow,  and the fruits remain green,  small, and unsuitable for harvest. Consequently, the plants die entirely after a few years. A bacterium also known Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) causes these symptoms by spreading the disease from one tree to the other using a tiny insect vector known as the Asian citrus psyllid. Currently, the disease has been detected in China and other parts of the world. Growers and scientists have tried numerous methods to combat the disease, but none has been long-lasting or effective enough (Singerman and Pilar, 2016). However, some publications illuminate strategies that can control the spread of CLas, as this paper will indicate.

Compared to other countries, citrus greening is more common in China, as they use more chemical fertilizer for plants that are planted close to each other. Additionally, growers use random pesticides to eliminate harmful insects.  Therefore, to understand how the disease can be cured, it is essential first to understand how the plants are infected.

The CLas infect the psyllid vector through bacteria that is sucked up when the psyllid consumes an infected tree, later reproduces inside the insect, and infect other healthy trees when the psyllid feeds on them. Arguably, the CLas cannot affect new trees without getting a ride on the insect. Thus, no new trees can die to citrus greening. Research has revealed that the nymphs are better equipped at relaying the disease than adults. CLas need to get through the cell lining of the insect’s gut to effectively spread the psyllids (Zhang, 2016). In adults, the gut cells undergo a severe stress response during infection, as the cell nuclei split and some cells undergo auto-induced cell suicide. However, in the nymphs, the level of disruption is lower, which makes them resistant to the effects of CLas exposure. The following are some of the treatment methods.


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