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BioFlora® Approaches to combat HLB

May 8, 2020

BioFlora® Approaches to combat HLB

Are you looking to save your trees from HLB? BioFlora® has a solution!

First detected in Florida in 2005, Huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening) is now found in every commercial citrus-producing county in the state (source: floridacitrus.org). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida’s citrus acreage declined 40% from 748,555 acres in the 2004 season to 447,012 acres in 2018. Additionally, the annual harvest has declined by more than 70% over that time. There is no cure for HLB, but BioFlora® has privately funded an experimental study to combat the devastating effects of HLB from the cellular level. The primary objective of the study was to determine the efficacy of BioFlora® product treatment programs on HLB infected trees. We are excited to report a breakthrough in our research!

About BioFlora®

At BioFlora®, we have spent over 40 years transforming plant health with cutting edge organic biostimulants. Our roots run deep in agriculture, and we are committed to bringing organic and sustainable solutions to growers. We take pride in using all-natural ingredients to manufacture our products enhanced with our patented Cellular Infuson™ Technology. We believe in the partnership between plants and the soils where our focus is to tailor fit our products to a grower’s specific needs whether it is disease, nutrient deficiencies or unproductive soils. Citrus tree health and nutrition has been a center of interest of our Land-to-Lab program.

About the study
Broken into four phases, phase I began in the greenhouse under controlled conditions, phase II was the first year of field tests on citrus tress under natural conditions to confirm greenhouse results, phase III was the second year of field tests on the same tress with additional analysis to determine mode of action, and phase IV was the third year of field test on the same trees to further confirm results. The study concluded in August of 2019.

Phase I (Greenhouse)
Phase I (Greenhouse)
PI: Dr. Yongping Duan (USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, Florida)
BioFlora Consulting Collaborator: Dr. Chika Nwugo
Citrus spp. or variety: Citrus Grapefruit Duncan variety
Duration: six months

During phase I, experiments were conducted on young grapefruit trees infected with HLB. The treatment programs consisted of both BioFlora® soil and foliar applications. After six months monitoring a control group and six BioFlora® treatment programs, molecular qPCR technology screening concluded that trees with BioFlora® program #6 using a combination of BioFlora products displayed a complete eradication of the bacterium (Fig1 ). BioFlora® products were seen to enhance the plant’s defense system.

Figure 1

Infected plants treated with BioFlora® treatment program 2 + Boron/Zinc Spray (Left);
(Right) after six months where HLB displayed below detectable levels

 

Phase II – IV (Field Trials)
Site: Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Weslaco, Texas
Project Leaders: Dr. Chika Nwugo and Dr. Srinivas N. Makam (BioFlora, Goodyear, Arizona)
Collaborators: Dr. Olufemi Alabi and Dr. Mamouduo Sétamou (Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Weslaco, Texas)
Site Location: TAMUK South Farm Block 6-3; 55×4 tree plot of 1.5 acres, 25 trees were randomly selected
Cultivar: Rio Red Grapefruit/C-22 FG-388
Duration: three years

Phases II-IV took place over three years to further evaluate BioFlora® product efficacy. Field trials were conducted at the TAMU Agrilife Ext. in Weslaco, Texas. The experimental plot consisted of 25 randomly selected trees in a 55 x 4 trees block spread over 1.5 acres. The trees were treated with a combination of BioFlora® soil and foliar applications consisting of various blends of micro and macro nutrients, beneficial bacteria, microbially active humic acid and microalgae. The treatments consisted of four different BioFlora® programs labeled as White (control), Red (program 1), Orange (program 2), Yellow (program 3) and Blue (program 4).

Soil, foliar and molecular tests were conducted at various stages to determine the HLB infestation levels, tree health and mode of action. Compared to controls, it was found that BioFlora® Blue and Orange treatment programs not only produced substantial sized fruit (>27, Fig 2) following year 1 treatment but yields also exceeded expectations at the end of the trial.

Figure 2

Qualitative aspect of BioFlora® treatment programs on fruit size distributions in HLB field trials,

both the Orange and Blue programs showed the highest Jumbos (>27).

 

Using molecular qPCR technology and advanced cellular imaging technology, researchers discovered exceptional changes occurring at the cellular level. A significantly decreased infestation (HLB Bacterial Load) were seen at the cellular level in trees with BioFlora® program compared to control which were heavily infested (Fig 3). BioFlora® products were not only suppressing the disease at the cellular level, but the tree was healing itself by building up its immune system.

Figure 3

A- Control group showing extensive HLB infestation at the cellular level.
B- Cells showing a reduction in the HLB infestation at the cellular level when treated with BioFlora® products.

Conclusion
Agronomic, yield quantity and quality, tree health and molecular data are being analyzed. A manuscript is in progress for 2020 publication.

BioFlora® products have been used by some of the industry’s top growers in the nation and has been a trusted brand for organic and sustainable solutions for agriculture for over 40 years.

We’ve designed a premium HLB treatment program that consists of field-tested products uniquely blended to combat HLB, increase yields, increase fruit size, and enhance soil fertility.

Contact us for more information and take the next step to protect your crop from any further damage. Let BioFlora® bring your crop back to life!