The problem of oranges, grapefruits and tangerines turning green may soon be solved.
Researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have discovered that a time-lapse polarizing imaging system may help citrus growers detect green before the plant’s leaves show symptoms.
The research team inoculated plants with the greening disease and put those leaves through a time-lapse imaging system in which they discovered starch in the leaves, an early sign of greening. They were able to detect greening about one month after they infected the plants.
“Citrus growers in California, Florida and Texas are very interested in employing this detection method to protect their groves,” Alireza Pourreza, a former post-doctoral researcher in the UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering department, said in a statement. “This methodology was basically designed to show the greening hot spots in the grove.”
Citrus greening disease is a fatal disease of citrus caused by a vector-transmitted pathogen that is distinguished by the common symptoms of yellowing of the veins and adjacent tissues.
The current most accurate lab test for detecting citrus greening is the polymerase chain reaction, a DNA-amplifying technique.
According to Won Suk “Daniel” Lee, a UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering professor and an author on the study, timely detection and removal of greening-infected trees are necessary to manage the disease.
UF/IFAS researchers presented findings from the new study at the International Federation of Automatic Control Conference on Sensing, Control and Automation for Agriculture in August.