Research identifies more sustainable, cost-effective approach to treating citrus canker

February 03, 2021

An important bacterial disease that affects citrus trees and causes lesions, citrus canker has been effectively controlled by spraying copper. However standard management techniques involve spraying excessive amounts of copper and water without consideration for the size of the trees.

"This technique resulted in a waste of resources as well as higher costs, detrimental environmental impact, and risk for development of copper resistant strains," explained plant pathologist Franklin Behlau, who recently published an article discussing a more sustainable approach to managing citrus canker.

Behlau and his colleagues showed that it is possible to control citrus canker by spraying much less water and copper. "By adjusting both copper and water usage based on the volume of the citrus trees without affecting the quality of disease control, we have taken an important step to a more economically and environmentally sustainable citrus industry."

This research was conducted in a field trial carried out during two seasons in a commercial orchard of Pera sweet orange in Brazil. This is the first study to show that citrus canker can be managed with such a small amount of copper and water. It also identified the minimum copper deposition on the treated surface per spray necessary to protect against the disease.

"The impact for the citrus industry is huge. By using the most efficient treatments identified in our study, growers can save up 80% in the amount of copper and up to 60% in the volume of water used annually to manage citrus canker," explained Behlau. "By using less active ingredient, growers can prevent accumulation of copper in the soil and reduce the long-term effects that it may have on the development of the root system and the tree canopy."

In addition to studying citrus canker, scientists in the São Paulo state and the West-Southwest Minas Gerais state have been studying the most important diseases and pests that threaten the Brazilian citrus belt. Recent findings have been incorporated into the orchard management routine by producers, resulting in a more conscious and balanced production system.

"Our research, and the other research coming out of Brazil, can contribute significantly to a more sustainable citrus industry not only in Brazil but throughout the world. These results can help meet the global challenge of using fewer conventional pesticides in agriculture."
-end-
For more information, read ".

American Phytopathological Society

Related Agriculture Articles from Brightsurf:

Post-pandemic brave new world of agriculture
Recent events have shown how vulnerable the meat processing industry is to COVID-19.

Agriculture - a climate villain? Maybe not!
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that agriculture is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases, and is thus by many observers considered as a climate villain.

Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability
In a study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

Comparisons of organic and conventional agriculture need to be better, say researchers
The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated.

EU agriculture not viable for the future
The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen in the journal Science.

Global agriculture: Impending threats to biodiversity
A new study compares the effects of expansion vs. intensification of cropland use on global agricultural markets and biodiversity, and finds that the expansion strategy poses a particularly serious threat to biodiversity in the tropics.

A new vision for genomics in animal agriculture
Iowa State University animal scientists helped to form a blueprint to guide the next decade of animal genomics research.

New pathways for sustainable agriculture
Diversity beats monotony: a colourful patchwork of small, differently used plots can bring advantages to agriculture and nature.

The future of agriculture is computerized
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative have used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to improve basil plants' taste by maximizing the concentration of flavorful molecules known as volatile compounds.

When yesterday's agriculture feeds today's water pollution
Water quality is threatened by a long history of fertilizer use on land, Canadian scientists find.

Read More: Agriculture News and Agriculture Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.