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Research Associate Professor at Citrus Center publishes article on citrus canker eradication efforts

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Dr. Madhurababu Kunta, plant pathologist and research associate professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Citrus Center in Weslaco, has been featured in publications for an article he wrote on citrus disease.

 

Kunta’s article The Return of Asiatic Citrus Canker to Texas: Surveys and Eradication Efforts was published this summer. It reports the efforts taken after a citrus canker strain was recently found in the Upper Gulf Coast area of Texas.

 

Citrus canker is a bacterial disease that is a significant threat to commercial citrus production. The disease causes unsightly blemishes on the fruit making it unmarketable.  One strain of the disease is the Asian or A strain which has caused serious economic loss among many citrus industries, especially in Florida. Kunta states more than $1 billion was invested to eradicate the disease in Florida with limited success.

 

To prevent a similar situation in Texas, The Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program and the Texas Department of Agriculture is collaborating with the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center to conduct surveys for early detection. Infected trees are being removed and being properly disposed to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

The American Phytopathological Society wrote about Kunta’s article and the history of the citrus canker in Texas.

Kunta’s article explains how the commercial citrus production in Texas in confined to the Lower Rio Grande Valley area where there are approximately 28,000 acres in production which is 70 percent grapefruit and 30 percent sweet orange. The total impact of citrus exceeds $93 million in the Texas economy.

 

“This is the first detection and return of Asiatic citrus canker in Texas since it was eradicated in 1940s,” Kunta wrote in an email. “Because the disease was successfully eradicated over 70 years ago, it is hoped that the present efforts to detect and eradicate the disease in Texas again will be successful, before any spread to the Lower Rio Grande Valley occurs.”

 

Kunta was also featured in Citrus Industry, a magazine that delivers key information to citrus growers, production managers and other citrus businesspeople.

 

Kunta’s article can be accessed online through APS Publications at https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PHP-10-20-0089-S.

Category: General Univ , Ag/Env & Wildlife Sci

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