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N-acetylcysteine: a new alternative to control citrus canker

Simone Picchi: Centro de Citricultura Sylvio Moreira" - Agronomic Institute (IAC)

<div>Citriculture is one of the most important commodities in the international market, and especially in Brazil, since it is the world’s biggest orange juice exporter. Among the citrus diseases, citrus canker, caused by the bacterium <em>Xanthomonas citri </em>subsp. c<em>itri,</em> has caused significant economic losses worldwide. There are no effective control measures besides cupric compounds applications, which continuous use may promote resistant strains selection, not to mention the limited efficacy and negative impacts on the profits for growers. So, we developed a new product for pulverization on citrus orchards (<em>NACsolution</em>) which is based on the antioxidant, anti-adhesive and antibacterial properties of the molecule N-acetil-cysteine (NAC), a cysteine analogue widely used in human health due to its low toxicity. NAC impairs biological activities of <em>X. citri </em>such as EPS production, cellular viability, biofilm formation and motility. Also, it has also impacted the bacterial adhesion on leaf surfaces, an important part of the disease cycle. Field evaluations revealed that an area with initial severity of 40% decreased this value in 17%, and in areas with initial severity above 50%, this reduction reached 48%. These results were obtained after one year of <em>NACsolution</em> application and we used cupric compounds applications as a control. Therefore, <em>NACsolution</em> seems to be an alternative to block disease progression, being a sustainable alternative to the control of citrus canker.</div>