Florida's sweet orange scab continues to perplex researchers

04/05/2011 03:46:00 PM
By Citrus + Vegetable Magazine staff

Sweet orange scab continues to spread in Florida, with 11 counties considered positive.

Most of the fruit have been from dooryards, with only two finds in commercial groves, according to a report from Megan Dewdney, a plant pathologist based at the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

Those groves are near Sarasota and in the Indian River.

Dewdney reports that her lab that that of the Division of Plant Industry's haven't been able to isolate the fungus. But PCR tests for the fungus have been positive, so "we are not sure what is actually occurring in Florida yet," she says.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has quarantined the entire state of Florida along with the entire states of Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, where the disease also has been confirmed.

In Texas, researchers were able to isolate the causitive fungus, Elsinoë australis, from commercial groves.

Dewdney reports she and UF colleagues will continue to work with their Texas counterparts to determine if their isolates cause disease.

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