Two conferences to focus on citrus research and diseases that threaten citrus industry

Tech

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Two conferences on citrus research and diseases will take place back-to-back at the Riverside Convention Center, 3637 5th St, downtown Riverside, Calif., starting Sunday, March 10, 2019. Reporters are invited to attend and cover the conferences that will address a variety of citrus diseases, including huanglongbing (HLB), a deadly bacterial disease that killed hundreds of thousands of Florida's citrus trees and gravely threatens California's commercial citrus industry.

First conference: The 21st Conference of the International Organization of Citrus Virologists (IOCV) will take place March 10-12. It will focus on citrus leprosis, tristeza, yellow vein clearing, citrus viruses, citrus viroids, and non-graft-transmissible citrus diseases. The IOCV conference returns to Riverside for the first time since 1957. IOCV scientists saved the citrus industry from collapsing in the 1960s with their work on citrus tristeza virus that killed more than 100 million trees worldwide and changed the face of US citriculture forever.

Second conference: The 6th International Research Conference on Huanglongbing (IRCHLB) will take place March 12-15. It will focus on the global status of HLB. Leading scientists will present current HLB research and share a vision for long-term sustainable practices for managing HLB.

"If we do not identify or engineer resistance or tolerance against HLB into citrus, the disease will make citrus a niche product that we may enjoy once a year at a very high price," says UC Riverside's Georgios Vidalakis, who is chairing both conferences and is available for media interviews. He can be reached at vidalg@ucr.edu and (951) 827-3763.

Relevant links: Conferences

About Georgios Vidalakis

Other: HLB has devastated the $10 billion Florida citrus industry (since 2005, more than 70 percent production loss, more than 8,000 jobs lost and billions of dollars in economic losses). Since 2008, California annually spends $45 million in an effort to keep the bacterium and its insect vector away from commercial citrus, but the disease is spreading in urban Southern California. Since 2005, more than $400 million of federal, state and industry funds have been spent in HLB research, but no viable, sustainable long-term solution has been found. The current HLB management protocols are not sustainable in terms of cost and potential environmental impacts.

More than 500 attendees - from leading researchers and regulators to citrus growers - representing more than 22 countries will attend the conferences in Riverside. This is the first time the IOCV and IRCHLB conferences are being held in conjunction. More information, such as sessions of particular interest to reporters and key people attending the conferences, is available upon request.

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