Brazil and US scientists discover molecule that has destroyed millions of citrus groves
Researchers have identified the molecule that attracts the insect that transmits citrus greening disease, a development expected to help farmers control a plague that has destroyed trees in growing regions of Brazil and the United States. The scientific breakthrough is the result of six years of research on Diaphorina citri, the vector of citrus greening disease.
The molecule was discovered by Fundo de Defesa da Citricultura (Fundecitrus), a research center sponsored by farmers and orange juice producers in Brazil, in partnership with the University of California, Davis and the University of Sao Paulo's Agricultural College, known as Esalq.
The next step will be to synthesize the pheromone from the molecule and create a product that will work as a kind of trap to attract and neutralize the insect. Then scientists hope to reduce the spread of a disease that resulted, since 2005, in the destruction of almost half of Brazil's current orange tree area.