Jessica Shade, director of science programs for the Washington, D.C.-based Organic Center, explained the importance of research into the disease, also known as huanglongbing or HLB, on July 29.
“Citrus greening is not just an organic problem, and this research is not just for organic growers,” she said in a news release. “This disease is threatening both organic and conventional citrus growers. But many of the non-organic methods being used to fight it are proving to be not only inadequate, but pose dangerous risks to the environment and human health. The solutions we find for organic can be used by all.”
The center has launched a multi-year study to find organic ways to treat greening-infected trees and to prevent infection from occurring.
It has partnered with industry members, academics and other non-profits in the effort as well as sponsored a social media campaign, Save Organic Citrus.
In addition, the center has launched a crowd-funding drive to raise research funds, at http://www.rockethub.com/44990.
Although citrus greening can weaken and even kill citrus trees, it is harmless to humans or other animals.
In Florida, where the disease is endemic, it has cost that state’s citrus industry more than $4.6 billion, according to University of Florida figures.
The Organic Center is part of the Organic Trade Association.