Following a discovery by researchers, citrus growers may one day have an effective deterrent against the ever-growing spread of Asian citrus psyllid. The invasive pest that can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, causes trees, once infected, to decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies.
According to The Grower, University of California, Riverside researches identified odor molecules emitted by citrus plants that attract the insect. The odors could in theory be harnessed and used to create an attractant that can lure pysllids to traps instead of the plant. Researchers are using a blend of three odorants that are found in nature. The lack of effective traps has added to the issues citrus growers face when combatting the pest.
Quoting from the article, “What’s particularly encouraging is that these three chemicals are affordable, useful in small quantities and safe for human handling,” Ray said in the release. “They could be developed into monitoring and surveillance tools. Similar approaches can be taken to develop control strategies using odors for other insect pests of crops as well. Our study also reports identification of odors that block the ACP olfactory system from detecting citrus odors and have potential for development into repellents.”
The university's Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent on the technology and has licensed it to ISCA Technologies, Riverside.
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