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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Research Project #438496

Research Project: Develop Therapies Using a Novel Class of Citrus-derived Dual-functional Antimicrobial Peptides to Cure HLB-positive Trees and Protect Healthy Trees

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Project Number: 6034-21000-019-005-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2019
End Date: Jan 31, 2023

The ultimate goal of this project is to provide effective therapeutic solutions to control Huanglongbing (HLB) by developing antimicrobial therapies to suppress/kill Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus (CLas) in HLB-positive trees and antimicrobial protectants to vaccinate healthy young citrus trees from infection. Objective 1: Identify the most effective antimicrobial peptide mixtures and delivery methods for curing HLB-infected trees. Objective 2: Characterize immune-priming effects of antimicrobial peptides and quantify antimicrobial peptides capacity to vaccinate healthy trees against Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus (Clas) and protect against Asian citrus psyllid feeding. Objective 3: Integrate research outputs with extension and outreach efforts. Communicate findings to growers and establish connections to facilitate future antimicrobial peptide (AP) adoption. Objective 4: Perform an economic analysis and register AP products with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

We propose to develop effective therapies and protectants using antimicrobial peptide solutions and evaluate the cost-effective application methods to HLB-positive trees or healthy young trees for Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus (CLas) control. Various cocktails will be formulated and different delivery methods will be tested in the greenhouse and field. The cocktail and delivery method proven most effective will be introduced to growers for field evaluations. The citrus tristeza virus (CTV)-mediated expression delivery method will be also included for testing.