Control of citrus huanglongbing via trunk injection of plant defense activators and antibiotics

J. Hu, J. Jiang, N. Wang

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113 Scopus citations


Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) or greening is a devastating disease of citrus worldwide and no effective control measure is currently available. Plant defense activators environmentally friendly compounds capable of inducing resistance against many plant pathogens. Earlier studies showed that foliar spray of plant defense inducers could slow down HLB disease progress. In this study, eight plant defense activators and three antibiotics were evaluated in three field trials for their effect to control HLB by trunk injection of young and mature sweet orange trees. Results showed that four trunk injections of several activators, including salicylic acid, oxalic acid, acibenzolar-S-methyl, and potassium phosphate, provided significant control of HLB by suppressing 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' titer and disease progress. Trunk injection of penicillin, streptomycin, and oxytetracycline hydrochloride resulted in excellent control of HLB. In general, antibiotics were more effective in reduction of 'Ca. L. asiaticus' titer and HLB symptom expressions than plant defense activators. These treatments also resulted in increased yield and better fruit quality. Injection of both salicylic acid and acibenzolar-S-methyl led to significant induction of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes PR-1 and PR-2 genes. Meanwhile, injection of either potassium phosphate or oxalic acid resulted in significant induction of PR-2 or PR-15 gene expression, respectively. These results suggested that HLB diseased trees remained inducible for systemic acquired resistance under field conditions. In summary, this study presents information regarding controlling HLB via trunk injection of plant defense activators and antibiotics, which helps citrus growers in decision making regarding developing an effective HLB management program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-195
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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