Improved Citrus Strains Arrive Costa Rica

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Education Center (CATIE) established the first improved citrus strain bank.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With 330 trees, corresponding to 66 improved varieties of citrus, brought by the State Sanitary Service, CATIE established the first citrus improved gene bank in Costa Rica, aiming at contributing to the development of citrus production in the country.

The genes come from the Seed Bank of the University of California Riverside Seed Bank, one of the most prestigious banks in the world. According to William Solano, a researcher at CATIE, these varieties were brought to for sanitary reasons because its immune against a disease known as huanglongbing (HLB) associated with the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter. "This bacteria causes the economic death of the tree failing to produce marketable fruit, with orange and grapefruit being more susceptible" he said.

"Among the materials received at CATIE are oranges, mandarins, grape fruit and lemons mainly for fresh consumption. However, there are some oranges for juice and for the concentrate industry," stated Solano.

All plants have a strain called "Flying Dragon", which is resistant to various diseases and has a dwarfing effect on the tree facilitating management and reducing costs as well as allowing better performance.

HLB disease is currently the primary threat to citrus production due to the severity of the symptoms, how quickly it spreads and the fact that all commercial varieties are susceptible.

More on this topic

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The decline in the U.S. supply caused by the effects of a pest in plantations in Florida, creates opportunities for Central American producers.

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Virus Threatens Honduran Citrus

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Playing it Safe with Citrus Pests

March 2013

Given the great threat to citrus fruits posed by the Huanglongbing plague, a project is being planned to strengthen control of the pest and for the implementation of integrated pest management for citrus fruits.

From a statement from the International Regional Organization for Animal Health (OIRSA):

Citrus Protection Program

December 2012

With an investment of $6 million a program will be developed in Central America to control pests affecting citrus fruits.

The technical cooperation agreement signed between the International International Organization for Regional Specialized Health in Agrifood (OIRSA in Spanish) and the Republic of China (Taiwan), focuses on fighting the most destructive pests affecting citrus fruits: Huanglongbing (HLB).

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