Citrus greening effects on fruit size distribution and yield in citrus trees

Timothy M. Spann, W. Chris Oswalt

Abstract


Citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB) is a bacterial disease caused by the phloem-limited bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter spp. The disease causes phloem collapse, which leads to a number of symptoms expressed in leaves and fruit of infected trees. Fruit symptoms include small fruit size, misshapen and lopsided fruit, an inverted color change and off-flavors in the fruit. It is important to keep off-flavored greening-affected fruit from entering the processing plant where they could taint large volumes of juice, as they would be unacceptable to consumers. We hypothesized that there is a significant difference in the fruit size distribution, more heavily weighted to smaller fruit, in greening-infected trees than healthy trees. This change in size distribution caused by greening would reduce yield and might be used to grade out affected fruit at harvest from a potentially infected area. Additionally, a load of fruit with a disproportionately high number of small fruit could be an indicator of possible greening infection, thus helping to direct scouting efforts.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283