Citrus Greening bacteria

Citrus Greening Bacteria Affects Pest's Sense of Smell

A failed field test has led to a major discovery about the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that spreads the devastating citrus greening disease. According to new research, the bacteria that cause citrus greening can interfere with the insect’s sense of smell, rendering some kinds of insect traps useless. The work is currently available as a preprint.

Citrus greening is caused by the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), carried by the Asian citrus psyllid. Infected trees cannot be cured and produce small, bitter fruit. The disease has wrecked millions of acres of citrus groves worldwide and has now appeared in the U.S.

Working with Professor Walter Leal at the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, an expert in ‘chemical ecology’ or how insects use chemical signals, the researchers studied how the bacteria affected psyllids’ response to chemical lures, like traps baited with acetic acid.

Read the full article here.