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AUDIO from Medialink and USDA/APHIS: Deadly Agricultural Disease is Putting America's Citrus at Risk

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:17 PM


NEW YORK, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Named for its green, misshapen fruit, Citrus Greening Disease has destroyed millions of acres of citrus plants around the world and now puts the future of America's citrus at risk. Spread primarily by tiny disease-infected insects called Asian Citrus Psyllids, Citrus Greening Disease first damages citrus crops by yielding hard, deformed and bitter fruit that isn't fit for selling, and eventually kills the trees.

Listen to this report from USDA/APHIS at: http://inr.mediaseed.tv/USDA_36289/

Having already caused devastation in Asia and Africa, Citrus Greening Disease has appeared in Florida and Louisiana, while the Asian Citrus Psyllid has been found in other citrus producing states, such as California and Georgia. As a result, many areas in the United States, including Florida, California, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, have been put under quarantine for Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllids.

There is no cure for the disease, but the best approach to stop its spread is to simply not move citrus plants. Citrus plants should not be shipped across state lines. If plants are bought online, consumers should make sure the plant is not from an area that is quarantined for either Citrus Greening Disease or Asian Citrus Psyllids.

Many common plants can host the Asian Citrus Psyllid, such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. However, citrus plants infected by the citrus greening bacteria may not show symptoms for years following infection. Initial symptoms frequently include the appearance of yellow shoots on a tree. The most characteristic symptoms of citrus greening are a blotchy leaf mottle and vein yellowing that develop on leaves attached to shoots showing the overall yellow appearance. As the bacteria move within the tree, the entire canopy progressively develops a yellow color.

The following resources can provide more information about the disease, how to detect it and what to do if the disease has been identified:

USDA, APHIS - www.saveourcitrus.org

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/citrus_greening/index.shtml

State Departments of Agriculture

University Extension Services

Registered journalists can access video, audio, text, graphics and photos for free and unrestricted use at http://www.mediaseed.tv.

02DC09-0038

SOURCE Medialink; USDA/APHIS

(Source: PR Newswire )

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