Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2002
Publication Date: 6/1/2002
Citation: Gottwald, T. 2002. Citrus Canker: Plant Pathology Versus Public Policy, Phytopathology. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Increasing international travel and trade has resulted in an unprecedented number of plant pathogen introductions, including <i>Xanthomonas axonopodis</i> pv <i>citri</i>, (Xac), the bacterium that causes citrus canker. The disease affects commercial and dooryard citrus, and has far-reaching political and socioeconomic impact. Xac is a leaf and fruit-spotting pathogen that can cause crop loss, but also triggers quarantine of infested areas, disrupting national and international trade. The only known eradication method is removal of diseased and nearby asymptomatic trees suspected to have sub-clinical infections. This has elicited conflict between regulatory agencies, commercial citrus growers, and homeowners resulting in legal proceedings to resolve the disputes. Eradication policy decisions are at times influenced by public perception and legal challenges that are not always in agreement with pathogen biology. Researchers working on Xac find themselves in situations in which scientific information does not take precedence. The effects of public policy decisions on Xac epidemics and implications on research will be discussed.