Jun. 1, 2022
Brazil’s Fundecitrus reported that the exchange of international researchers and technicians working on the PRE-HLB (Preventing HLB Epidemics for Ensuring Citrus Survival in Europe) project strengthens research on the disease.
In recent months, Fundecitrus received a researcher from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and sent a researcher to the University of Valencia (Spain).
Counting on the expertise of more than 100 researchers and technicians from 24 institutions in 10 countries, PRE-HLB seeks solutions for the control of HLB. PRE-HLB is a European Union initiative to foster research and innovation. Although the disease is not present in Europe, the project establishes actions to prevent the arrival of HLB there. In Brazil, Fundecitrus, Embrapa and Unesp-Jaboticabal are part of the partnership.
Fundecitrus participates in several short-, medium- and long-term subprojects, focusing on research to identify and incorporate resistance to HLB in commercial varieties. Those subprojects also seek to understand the relationship between bacteria, insect vectors and citrus plants.
About three years ago, studies by Fundecitrus confirmed resistance to HLB in Microcitrus and Eremocitrus plants. Since then, hybrid plants are being generated by crossing these resistant species with susceptible varieties. Research is being carried out to identify the genes that confer resistance to the disease.
In recent exchanges, studies are being carried out on candidate genes for resistance and also on the metabolic and molecular interactions (metabolomics) between bacteria/plant and bacteria/psyllid. These activities are important to accelerate the achievement of results and to integrate activities between the various research groups.
At the end of May, a group of researchers from Spain is also expected to visit Fundecitrus.