New disease may cost Florida’s avocado industry millions, UF experts warn

02/05/2009 02:00:00 AM

Tom Nordlie, UF/IFAS News

Florida’s avocado industry, the nation’s second-largest, could lose millions of dollars if a new disease reaches the state’s southern tip, according to University of Florida experts.

Laurel wilt disease, caused by a fungus transmitted by the invasive redbay ambrosia beetle, kills avocado and several native trees including redbay, said Jonathan Crane, a professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and co-author of a paper estimating the disease’s financial impact. The paper is expected to be published later this year.

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