Penicillin to fight citrus disease in Florida!
For several years now citrus production in Florida has been in serious decline. The decline is the result of an insect named the Asian Citrus Psyllid. The insect is very tiny but causes huge damage to the trees. Infected trees develop misshapen fruit that does not ripen and falls to the ground.
Citrus greening is also known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow dragon disease. (HLB) is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Florida will produce 103 million boxes of oranges this year. That number was 147 million just three years ago. The citrus industry in Florida is valued at just slightly under $9 billion dollars.
Fighting the disease with penicillin has demonstrated excellent results in trials so far. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, trees have been restored, nearly back to health in approximately 19 days.
For now more research needs to be done according to Dr. Nick Place, dean at the University of Florida/IFAS extension service. Approval to use penicillin on the trees would require review from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
With the future of citrus production in serious jeopardy, your next cartoon of orange juice may end up with a warning label. "This juice may contain trace quantities of penicillin" Imagine that? Would you drink that for breakfast?