Trunk Injection of Citrus Trees with a Polymeric Nanobactericide Reduces Huanglongbing Severity Caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus

Guerrero-Santos et al. (2024). The Plant Pathology Journal 40 (2)
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Agronomy and Crop Science
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a disease caused by the phloem- limited Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that affects the citrus industry worldwide. To date, only indirect strategies have been implemented to eradicate HLB. Included among these is the population control of the psyllid vector (Diaphorina citri), which usually provides inconsistent results. Even though strategies for direct CLas suppression seem a priori more promising, only a handful of reports have been focused on a confrontation of the pathogen. Recent developments in polymer chemistry have allowed the design of polycationic self-assembled block copolymers with outstanding antibacterial capabilities. Here, we report the use of polymeric nano-sized bactericide particles (PNB) to control CLas directly in the phloem vasculature. The field experiments were performed in Rioverde, San Luis Potosí, and is one of the most important citrusproducing regions in Mexico. An average 52% reduction in the bacterial population was produced when PNB was injected directly into the trunk of 20 infected trees, although, in some cases, reduction levels reached 97%. These results position PNB as a novel and promising nanotechnological tool for citrus crop protection against CLas and other related pathogens.
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