With a goal of sustaining and protecting California’s commercial citrus production from the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the deadly disease it can spread, Huanglongbing (HLB), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) remains in close communication with a number of industry partners, researchers, scientists and commercial citrus growers to ensure California’s citrus industry is protected for years to come.
The CPDPD has been made aware of the ongoing research being conducted in Southern California – including Ventura County – as a part of a program funded by the HLB Multi Agency Coordination Group by researchers from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, UC Riverside and the University of Arizona, Tucson. As part of this effort, some of the ACP samples collected by researchers in Ventura County yielded experimental results indicating varying levels of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) – the bacteria that causes HLB. These studies’ laboratory tests vary from the federally-approved testing methods and procedures required by CDFA labs that would allow the state to take any regulatory action. The CDFA staff is seeking approval for follow-up sampling to allow for official psyllid and plant samples to be collected for further investigation. However, this action is entirely voluntary for the property owners involved.
While there is no official action to be taken as of yet as a result of this research, the division staff and I are working diligently to pursue follow-up testing. I commend the work being conducted by our partners as we work together to make strides in the fight against HLB and the ACP. The threat posed by this deadly disease could have a devasting impact on the citrus industry, but by working together and sharing ideas and perspectives, we can save California’s citrus.
To read more about the research update, please visit the UC ANR website.
Director, Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division