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Phosphorus starvation linked to symptoms of citrus disease Huanglongbing in new study

19 February 2013

The citrus disease Huanglongbing (HLB), meaning "yellow shoot disease" in Chinese and also called citrus greening in English-speaking countries, is the most destructive disease threatening the citrus industry worldwide. Powerful diagnostic tools and management strategies are desired to control it. A new study, published online in the journal Molecular Plant, profiled small Ribonucleic Acids (sRNAs) from both diseased and healthy plants and found that some of these tiny molecules could potentially be developed into early diagnosis markers for HLB. More importantly, the study demonstrates that the diseased trees suffered from severe phosphorus (P) deficiency and that application of phosphorus solutions to the diseased trees significantly alleviated HLB symptoms and thus improved fruit yield in a three-year field trial in southwest Florida.

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