1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop a psyllid population that cannot vector citrus greening that will be released to displace the current psyllids in citrus growing regions of the U.S.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Shatters: Identify molecular blockers (peptides or synthetic antibodies) that block systemic movement of the causative agent of Citrus greening, the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, that are incorporated into a psyllid population that is mass reared and released to displace the existing pysllid population.
Patt: Optimize Asian citrus mass rearing operations by integrating best use practices utilized at major rearing facilities. Identify most effective rearing materials and handling methodologies. Develop olfactory, visual, and auditory stimuli for attracting Asian citrus psyllid to trapping devices. Integrate innovative stimulatory and physical designs with existing trapping technology. Improve trapping technology to permit accurate estimates of the levels of genetic penetrance of 'nu-psyllids' into target release populations.
This project is related to Objective 3b: Develop novel control methods based on disrupting key processes in pest biology.
An artificial diet method was developed that allows monitoring the efficiency of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) transmission by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). This method involves the feeding of ACP on an artificial diet containing plant extracts from Citrus Greening infected citrus and then transferring the ACP to healthy excised citrus leaves and leaving these psyllids to feed on the leaf for 6 days. This assay will now be used in bioassays to identify molecules that block ACP transmission of CLas. Such bioassays will focus on the screening of single-chain antibodies that bind the CLas bacterium and fluorescently labeled peptide libraries which have been synthesized for this project.