UC Davis Associate Professor of Plant Pathology Neil McRoberts says early detection methods for HLB could make a grower pull an uninfected tree by showing a false positive. He says they are working with growers to see what an acceptable window of accuracy would be to use more of these tests in the field. “That’s one of the things that we really trying to work through with growers at the moment is what’s the level of false positives that they think they’re willing to bare economically and then that gives us an idea of how faulty or how leaky those early detection technologies can afford to be and still be useful,” McRoberts said.
“We’re trying to work on that false positive rate but there’s no point in trying to get it down to zero because it’ll never get there anyways,” McRoberts added. “The question is how many healthy trees are you prepared to take out in the belief that they are infected in order to make sure that you catch all the ones that really are infected, those are the two things that you’re really balancing off”