Researchers look to satsumas to help fight citrus canker disease - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Researchers look to satsumas to help fight citrus canker disease

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State agricultural agencies are working to identify satsumas tolerant to a bacterial disease first found in Louisiana almost five years ago.

Louisiana's Department of Agriculture and the LSU AgCenter say they're working together to mitigate the spread of citrus canker disease.

The disease causes lesions on citrus leaves, stems and fruit and is spread by wind-driven rain, according to a joint press release from LDAF and the LSU AgCenter. They say the disease is spread by wind-driven rain. 

Researchers with the LSU AgCenter have collected and processed 292 citrus plant tissue samples since the disease first was detected in New Orleans' City Park in 2013.

"Data collected from these samples showed that Louisiana satsuma cultivars are tolerant to citrus canker disease," said Raj Singh, Ph.D., of the LSU AgCenter's Plant Diagnostic Center. "Together, with the LDAF, we hope to identify the specific satsuma cultivars in an effort to enhance Louisiana's citrus industry."

According to the press release:

According to LSU AgCenter Ag Summary, citrus was grown on 832 acres in Louisiana in 2016. Citrus production and harvesting of fruit occurred on 283 acres of navels, 521 acres of satsumas and 28 acres of other types of citrus (lemons, grapefruit and kumquats, among others). Plaquemines Parish remained the leading producer of citrus in the state with satsuma production totaling 177,131 bushels in 2016. Citrus generated a total farm gate value of $6.1 million.

To accomplish the project objectives, healthy satsuma trees of different cultivars will be located in south Louisiana at five known citrus canker infested locations for two years. Disease incidence and disease severity data will be collected and analyzed to determine the satsuma susceptibility to citrus canker.

The efforts to study and mitigate this disease are being funded through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. 

For more information about the project or citrus canker disease, visit www.ldaf.la.gov orwww.lsuagcenter.com

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