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Poster: Diseases of Plants: Crop Loss Assessment


Characterization of ZinkicideTM in plant tissues
L. TETARD (1), M. Soliman (1), M. Young (1), A. Towers (1), T. Washington (1), P. Rajasekaran (1), S. Das (1), E. Johnson (2), A. Gesquiere (1), S. Santra (1) (1) University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, U.S.A.; (2) University of Florida, Lake Alfred,

The unprecedented crop losses caused by the high incidence of huanglongbing (HLB) vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in Florida citrus groves calls for the rapid development of an effective product available to growers for HLB management. ZinkicideTM is a prototype plant nutrient-based nanoparticle developed to provide growers with a new and effective systemic bactericide that will translocate into plant tissues to target the phloem-limited bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las), responsible for infection and damage of internal phloem tissues in the plant associated with HLB. Unlike traditional bactericidal management, we show that the new ZinkicideTM treatment allows systemic movement to reach phloem tissue and interact with Las with ongoing assessment of tree health responses in field trials. To complement green house and field trial data, we explore the fundamental properties of ZinkicideTM formulations and their interactions with bacteria and citrus plant tissues. Morphology, structure and composition of the formulations were determined using a combination of electron microscopy, UV-Vis, fluorescence and infrared spectroscopy measurements. In addition, correlations with antibacterial efficacy, phytotoxicity, particle uptake and evolution in planta were established by monitoring the fluorescence, lifetime and infrared signatures of the particles as they penetrate into the plant and interact with the phloem tissues.