Mike Roberts

‘Fertilizer’ Antioxidant Supplement Touted as Treatment for Citrus Greening

Brazilian agro-science has released information on what is being called a “groundbreaking study” into the use of an antioxidant supplement as a fertilizer to combat citrus greening and other plant diseases. The research was conducted by biologist and researcher Dr. Simone Cristina Picchi at the labs of the Citrus Center of the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) in Brazil, with field testing being conducted in São Paulo orchards. While the formula, which is patented under the GRANBLACK brand, is being touted as not a remedy but as a supplement to treating citrus greening, it appears to be a momentous development in the citrus industry. 

How the Research Started

The research started with studying the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is used as an expectorant and as a dietary supplement for humans, as a treatment for citrus canker and citrus variegated chlorosis. Dr. Picchi labeled the results as “too encouraging.” Results showed an increase in productivity and in the quantity and diameter of fruit in both sick and healthy citrus trees. Dr. Picchi then turned to studying the use of NAC for citrus greening.

The Mechanism of Citrus Greening Treatment

The formula created is applied as a liquid fertilizer to citrus trees leaves and/or soil. It is then taken up by the tree to the callosities where its antioxidant action works to “unclog” the tree’s phloem, allowing the trees to take up nutrients once again.

The research maintains that the fertilizer formulation’s antioxidant properties also benefit citrus trees through preventing other environmental aggressions, such as damage caused by heat, ultraviolet radiation, and water stress. Similarly, the antioxidant NAC is also being used to develop products for citrus canker, corn stunt disease, and other crops, such as fruit trees, grapes, and vegetables.

Furthermore, the fertilizer treatment is also lauded as being a sustainable product that has minimal impacts on the soil, leaves, and the fruit of citrus trees.

Dr. Picchi presented the latest research into GRANBLACK at the sold-out International Research Conference on Huanglongbing (IRCHLB) in Riverside, California, at the end of March. If the research conducted in Brazil plays out for Florida citrus growers, it will certainly be a groundbreaking discovery for Florida citrus and the citrus industry everywhere.

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