U.S.: Florida researchers make avocado disease breakthrough
University of Florida researchers have found fungal disease laurel wilt is unlikely to be spread by avocado fruit or seeds, according to a study recently published in the September edition of the Journal of Phytopathology.
Plant pathology professor Randy Ploetz, from the University's Tropical Research and Education Center, said researchers found the pathogen - known scientifically as Raffaelea lauricola - did not colonize avocado fruit.
The study also found the insect responsible for transmitting the pathogen, the redbay ambrosia beetle, does not infect the avocado fruit either and only dwells in the xylem of the avocado tree trunk.
A university release said this implied avocado fruit and seeds produced in Florida were unlikely to pose a threat of laurel wilt transmission when shipped to other U.S. states or foreign countries.
"Without the beetle, the chances of transmission are extremely remote," Ploetz said.
Photo: UF/IFAS, Tyler Jones