Spinach could be weapon against citrus scourge

8:24 AM, Mar 31, 2012   |    comments
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WESLACO, Texas (AP) - A Texas scientist hopes to use proteins found in spinach to fight a disease that is ravaging the citrus industry.

Erik Mirkov, a Texas A&M plant pathologist, says tests have shown orange and grapefruit trees that include the two bacteria-fighting proteins can withstand the disease, known as citrus greening.

The disease is devastating the citrus industry, especially in Florida, where an estimated 43 percent of citrus trees are infected.

On Friday, state officials announced the disease had for the first time been found in a California citrus tree.

Next month, dozens of trees developed by Mirkov will be planted in Florida to see how they fare in a commercial citrus grove.

It could take three or four years to prove the modified trees are safe for humans and the environment.







(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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