Vol 124 (2011): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Citrus

Lack of Development of Huanglongbing in Seedlings from Citrus Seed

James H Graham
University of Florida, IFAS, Department of Plant Pathology, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Evan G Johnson
University of Florida, IFAS, Department of Plant Pathology, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Diane B Bright
University of Florida, IFAS, Department of Plant Pathology, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Michael S Irey
United States Sugar Corp., Clewiston, FL 33440
Published December 1, 2011
Keywords
  • citrus greening,
  • citrus nursery seed trees,
  • risk of pathogen introduction

Abstract

Huanglongbing (HLB) was first discovered in Florida in 2005. In response, Florida citrus nurseries began treating rootstock seed trees located outdoors with insecticide applications to reduce risk of psyllid transmission of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las), the putative causal agent. In 2008, a survey identified two ‘Carrizo’ citrange trees with symptoms of HLB. To assess the potential for seed transmission from HLB-affected seed source trees, assays of seedlings derived from seed extracted from symptomatic fruit were begun in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, 1557 seedlings germinated from ‘Pineapple’ sweet orange seeds from trees in Collier County were assayed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using 16S rRNA gene primers. Of these seedlings, a single plant was positive for (Las+), although additional tests were negative. In 2009, no Las+ plants were detected among 332 ‘Murcott’ tangor seedlings from trees in Hendry County. From nurseries in 2008, one Las+ seedling was detected in 290 seedlings from fruit located on symptomatic branches of two ‘Carrizo’ citrange trees, but its Las+ status was not confirmed after repeated testing. In 2009, a single Las+ result was obtained for one of 100 Cleopatra mandarin seedlings, whereas no Las+ seedlings were detected for 125 seedlings from seeds from two trees of ‘Swingle’ citrumelo, 649 seedlings from four trees of ‘Kuharske’ citrange, or 100 seedlings from one tree of ‘Shekwasha’ mandarin. Despite the occasional Las+ qPCR tests, no plants developed HLB symptoms. The most probable explanation for these results is transient transmission of Lasfrom seed obtained from HLB-affected trees with no subsequent disease establishment.