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Antibiotic Injections Could Be Better At Killing Citrus Greening Bacteria

A healthy orange from a grove in Bowling Green, Florida.
Jessica Meszaros
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Researchers at the University of Florida released a study this month in the journal Phytopathology, saying there's a way to more quickly and efficiently kill bacteria that causes citrus greening disease.

Experiments have shown that injecting antibiotics directly into an infected citrus tree trunk is much more effective than spraying.

"When you're spraying the bactericides onto the tree, the products have to go through the waxy layer on the leaf's surface to get into the leaf tissue where the bacteria live,” said Michael Rogers, with the Citrus Research and Education Center at UF/IFAS.

“It's that waxy leaf surface that's a barrier to getting the products into the plant."

Rogers said the antibiotics have not been federally approved for injection, but if that happens, UF researchers are already thinking about how to help growers deliver them on a large scale.

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Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of All Things Consideredfor WGCU News.
Jessica Meszaros
Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media.