Mexican scientists in quest for HLB-resistant lime

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Mexican scientists in quest for HLB-resistant lime

Mexican scientists are studying three different Persian lime ecotypes in a bid to increase productivity and resistance to the ubiquitous citrus greening disease, website reported.

The research will look at fruit  in the Campeche state, which is currently delivering lower yields than other key growing areas on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Jalisco Center for Research and Technology and Design academic Dr Alberto Uc Várguez, said the research would evaluate responses to the disease to pinpoint the most productive ecotype and predict its behavior when infected with Huanglongbing (HLB) - another name given to citrus greening disease.

"We are looking for ecotypes that have higher production efficiency and tolerance to pathogens such as Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as yellow dragon disease," he was quoted as saying.

Ecotypes were selected based on volume and production quality, number and size of the fruit, amount of juice, Brix (sucrose levels) and vitamin C, and were compared with export requirements.

The research also seeks to activate the molecular response which produces tolerance to HLB through stimulating more defense genes.

Dr Uc said current disease management strategies relied on timely detection and removal of the infected plants, or the injection of antibiotics if the pathogens were higher than 5%, which he described as costly and inefficient, the story reported.

He added at the moment there isn't a plant which is resistant to the disease and said that Persian limes accounted for 50% of infected plants in Yucatán state.

The Campeche state government is funding the research with support from national scientific institutions and the University of Florida.

Related stories: Mexico: HLB won't be eradicated, say authorities


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