For citrus growers around the world, huanglongbing represents a deadly threat. The disease, also called citrus greening disease or yellow dragon disease, originated in China and has spread to many citrus-growing regions.
With the tiny citrus psyllid as a vector, HLB spreads rapidly through a grove, and the impact is profound: the infected trees die and the fruit is bitter, acidic, abnormally green and worthless.
In Florida, where HLB first appeared in the U.S., citrus production is down 74% in the past 15 years and the cost of production has doubled, according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
HLB has invaded much of Asia and Africa. In…