Study: Fruit from HLB-infected trees can go to juice if mixed

01/25/2013 11:24:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Oranges from trees infected with citrus greening can go into orange juice with no ill effects, as long as they're mixed with fruit from healthy trees.

Those are the findings of work by Agricultural Research Service scientists in Fort Pierce, Fla., according to a news release.

Elizabeth Baldwin, a supervisory horticulturalist, led a group that investigated the effects that huanglongbing, also known as HLB or citrus greening, has on the taste of orange juice produced from diseased trees.

The group looked at Midsweet, Hamlin and Valencia oranges from trees with and without HLB symptoms during two growing seasons.

They found that orange juice from fruit with HLB symptoms often were higher in limonin and nomilin, compounds that can give it a bitter taste.

But typically they were below levels that could be detected by human taste panels.

Another study examinied how HLB infection affects juice quality with respect to cultivar, maturity and processing methods.

The researchers found more variability, depending on harvest date and variety.

In general, they found more problems with off-flavored juice from diseased Hamlin trees than with diseased Valencia and Midsweet trees.

The problems could be minimized by mixing fruit from diseased trees with fruit from healthy trees.

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