What We Have Been Up To

BY Western FarmPress

Perry Edwards, left, and Andy Moir, check commercial citrus groves in central California for signs of huanglongbing.

A new early detection tool developed by Croptix, a Pennsylvania company, allows commercial growers to sample their trees for possible HLB issues, well ahead of when PCR test would reveal disease. Because the testing is done by a private company and does not have a regulatory attachment, test results are private - between the grower and the company.


Perry Edwards, president, and chief executive officer of Croptix, developed a handheld device that samples leaves with light spectrum technology. The machine samples new-growth leaves for symptoms from the bacterial infection that causes HLB. These internal indicators can be samples by the machine before visible signs appear on the leaves and well before the bacterial infection leads to misshapen and bitter fruit.


How it works

Edwards says the technology can detect physiological changes in the tree relative to the existence of the Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacterium. It is not RNA or DNA technology; rather, it detects pre symptomatic things happening in the tree.


Andy Moir, director of business development for Croptix, likens it to a fingerprint. There are certain tell-tale signs that the bacterium creates. The light spectrum technology can detect these "fingerprints" to suggest evidence of the HLB disease. The technology also works with other citrus diseases, such as stubborn and citrus tristeza virus.


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