A joint effort is bringing an Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing specific research facility to Southern California.
California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelson spoke with AgNet West before the groundbreaking about the need for this facility and how it proves the seriousness of potential damage this disease could cause.
The University of California, Riverside and the California Citrus Research Foundation launched an effort that will result in construction of a new facility to be used by researchers to fight a disease devastating the citrus industry.
The research partnership aims to protect California’s $3.3 billion citrus industry from Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening disease. Huanglongbing is a bacterial plant disease fatal to citrus trees. The disease has devastated citrus trees in Asia, South America and Florida. More recently it has been found in Texas and California.
The partnership will result in the construction of a biosafety-level 3 plant facility in Riverside, about two miles north of UC Riverside.
The biosafety-level 3 plant facility will allow researchers, including many from UC Riverside who are experts on citrus pests, diseases and breeding, to conduct work with plant pathogens that previously couldn’t be done in Southern California. (There is only one other such facility in California – at UC Davis.)
The building, which will be located at the southeast corner of Marlborough and Rustin avenues, will be built and owned by the California Citrus Research Foundation, which is funded by citrus growers.
The partnership was launched June 6 with an event called “Save R’ Citrus” at the UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection. The event, attended by about 100 people, included tasting fruit from the collection and a tour of the collection. Read more about the event from UCR.