New tech may be breakthrough in citrus-greening fight


    Premier Citrus, one of Florida’s largest growers, announced a major investment in a new laser technology that could improve the delivery and effectiveness of chemicals that kill the fatal citrus greening bacteria.

    If the technology proves successful as a widespread commercial application, it would stabilize and perhaps revitalize commercial citrus growing in Florida until researchers breed a citrus tree more resistant or tolerant to infection by the bacterial disease. Introducing such a tree is a decade or more away.

    “I think this gets us up to the time when we get reliable genetic improvements” in a citrus tree, Tom Jerkins, president of Premier Citrus in Vero Beach, said Monday. “This keeps the industry stable and maintains the infrastructure until we do.”