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Godfrey P. Miles, Ed Stover, Chandrika Ramadugu, Manjunath L. Keremane, and Richard F. Lee

In a Fort Pierce, FL, field planting, plant growth, and Huanglongbing (HLB) severity were assessed as indicators of HLB tolerance on progenies of 83 seed-source accessions of Citrus and Citrus relatives mainly from the Riverside, CA, genebank. The HLB-associated pathogen [Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas)] and vector [asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri] were abundant, and trees were naturally challenged for 6 years before metrics (leaf mottle, percent canopy mottle, overall health, canopy density, canopy width, canopy height, and trunk diameter) were collected in Oct. and Nov. 2015. The healthiest trees with low or no HLB symptoms were distant citrus relatives: Balsamocitrus dawei, Bergera koenigii, Casimiroa edulis, Clausena excavata, Murraya paniculata, and one accession of Severinia buxifolia. Within Citrus, most of the healthiest trees with densest canopies, little leaf loss, and greater growth were those with pedigrees that included Citrus medica (citron). These included progenies of Citrus hybrid (‘Limon Real’), Citrus limetta, Citrus limettioides, Citrus limonia, C. medica, Citrus volkameriana, and some Citrus limon accessions. Trees in this category exhibited distinct leaf-mottle characteristic of HLB and substantial pathogen titers, but maintained dense canopies and exhibited good growth. Trees from seed-source accessions in the genus Citrus without citron in their background were generally among the least healthy overall with less dense canopies. The exceptions were progenies of two Citrus aurantium accessions, which were markedly healthier than progenies of other Citrus seed-source accessions not derived from citron. Linear regression analysis, between metrics collected and pedigree of seed parent, indicated that percentage of citron in the pedigree significantly correlated with measures of tolerance. Although no commercial Citrus genotypes yielded progenies with strong HLB resistance, in this field experiment several progenies maintained dense canopies and good growth, and may be useful for breeding HLB tolerant cultivars.

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Ed Stover, Chandrika Ramadugu, Mikeal Roose, Joseph Krystel, Richard F. Lee, and Manjunath Keremane

Asiatic citrus canker (ACC) foliar lesions were evaluated on progenies of 84 seed-source genotypes (“parent genotypes”) from the Citrus Variety Collection (CVC) of the University of California at Riverside (UCR) of Citrus trifoliata and hybrids between C. trifoliata and other Citrus species and hybrids. Trees were planted Aug. 2013 in a completely randomized design at the Fort Pierce U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grove. Plants were assessed visually Aug. 2017, Sept. 2019, and Sept. 2020 for distinctive ACC lesion incidence and severity. Progeny were compared by parent genotypes using nonparametric analysis. Incidence of ACC [percentage of leaves displaying symptoms, verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to be associated with Xanthomonas citri pv. citri] across parent genotypes ranged from 8% to 80% (mean, 49%) of leaves affected in 2017, from 4% to 58% (mean, 29%) in 2019, and 8% to 46% (mean, 25%) in 2020. In 2017, of 49 C. trifoliata parent genotypes, only four separated from the two highest ACC-incidence statistical categories [Citrus Research Center (CRC) 3345, 3484, 3888, and 4017]. whereas 29 of the 35 C. trifoliata hybrids displayed lower ACC incidence, which separated from the two highest statistical categories. In 2019, of the C. trifoliata, only six separated from the highest ACC-incidence statistical category (CRC 3330, 3484, 3547, 3549, 3876, and 3888), whereas all 35 C. trifoliata hybrids displayed lower ACC incidence and separated from the highest statistical category, and 26 hybrids separated from 18 of the C. trifoliata. In 2020, only three C. trifoliata separated from the highest ACC-incidence statistical category (CRC 2861, 3549, and 3888) and 20 hybrids separated from 18 of the C. trifoliata. By parent genotype, ACC incidence correlated substantially between each pair of the 3 years, with r 2 values of 0.39, 0.57, and 0.65. Of 34 hybrids validated, similar numbers had C. trifoliata, grapefruit (C. ×aurantium var. racemosa), and sweet orange (C. ×aurantium var. sinensis) chloroplasts. Chloroplast type affected ACC incidence and severity, but not in a consistent manner. Near-isogenic groups within C. trifoliata, as determined by DNA markers, were associated with some statistically different ACC sensitivity. Overall, hybrids of C. trifoliata with other citrus types displayed markedly reduced ACC sensitivity compared with C. trifoliata, indicating that this trait is readily overcome through breeding.