Host-free biofilm culture of “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus,” the bacterium associated with Huanglongbing

Phuc T. Ha, Ruifeng He, Nabil Killiny, Judith K. Brown, Anders Omsland, David R. Gang, Haluk Beyenal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Inability to culture the phloem-restricted alpha-proteobacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” (“Ca. L. asiaticus”) or the closely related species (“Candidatus Liberibacter americanus” and “Candidatus Liberibacter africanus”) that are associated with Huanglongbing (HLB) hampers the development of effective long-term control strategies for this devastating disease. Here we report successful establishment and long-term maintenance of host-free “Ca. L. asiaticus” cultures, with the bacterium growing within cultured biofilms derived from infected citrus tissue. The biofilms were grown in a newly designed growth medium under specific conditions. The initial biofilm-based culture has been successfully maintained for over two years and has undergone over a dozen subcultures. Multiple independent cultures have been established and maintained in a biofilm reactor system, opening the door to the development of pure culture of “Ca. L. asiaticus” and the use of genetics-based methods to understand and mitigate the spread of HLB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100005
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Biofilm
  • Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus
  • Host-free culture
  • Huanglongbing
  • Isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Microbiology


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