Mexico's main citrus producing state, Veracruz, is fearful of losing its top spot in the industry, so it's taking extra measures to prevent the pest Huanglongbing (HLB) or Yellow Dragon Disease in its fields.
The National Ecological Institute (INECOL) has found that in China, where the pest originated, growers are using guava trees to control the plague in production zones, Imagen del Golfo reported.
Thanks to the finding, INECOL is now studying guava DNA to identify the component that causes the reaction to create a biological treatment for the pest.
The institute also hopes to develop new citrus varieties resistant to HLB, similar to work being done in California, USA and other productive zones.
HLB already exists in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. It is considered one of the most destructive citrus plagues due to its rapid spread, the severity of its symptoms and its difficulty to control. Infected trees never recover and produce bitter, deformed fruit with no commercial value.
Veracruz is the main producer in Mexico of organges, lemons, limes, Persian limes, mandarins and tangelos. In 2012, the state produced 3 million tons (MT) of citrus over 235,000 Ha, according to SEDAPRA.