In recent years, citrus greening has made a $2 billion dent in the Florida economy. And with at least 80 percent of Florida’s citrus acreage affected, the incurable, highly contagious blight has sapped the life out of an industry that was once a major driver of the state’s economy.
Trees infected with bacterial diseases like citrus greening and citrus canker produce deformed, inedible fruit. These maladies kill trees and jobs alike. A decade ago, there were 8,000 citrus growers in Florida. Today, that number has been halved.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and Soilcea, a Tampa-based agricultural technology startup, have teamed up to revitalize the industry and save Florida citrus.
With assistance from The Corridor’s Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP), the project takes a unique approach to creating greening- and canker-tolerant citrus trees.