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Sharon Inch, Ed Stover, Randall Driggers and Richard F. Lee

A test population consisting of progenies of 92 seed-source genotypes (hereafter called “parent genotypes”) of Citrus and Citrus relatives in the field in east–central Florida was assessed after natural freeze events in the winters of 2010 and 2011. Eight seedlings per parent genotype were planted in a randomized complete block design; however, as a result of mortality, the number of plants assessed in some genotype groups was reduced at some or all sampling dates. The citrus diseases huanglongbing and citrus canker were endemic in the planting and may have influenced tree response to cold temperatures. Unusually low temperatures (near –4 °C each winter) for east–central Florida were experienced during the trial period. Defoliation and dieback were significantly greater in the winter of 2011 than in the winter of 2010. The winter in 2011 was preceded by a period of extraordinarily low temperatures in mid-December with no period of cool temperatures to allow trees to acclimate. In 2010 the average defoliation was 53% ± 28% and less than 13% of the trees exhibited any noticeable dieback, whereas in 2011, the average defoliation and dieback were 93% ± 17% and 51% ± 35%, respectively. Within the genus Citrus, several progenies were identified that had 16% to 24% dieback in 2011 and these were from parent genotypes C. reticulata (CRC 2590) (23%), C. sinensis (CRC 3858) (24%), C. maxima (CRC 3945) (16%), C. hassaku (CRC 3907 and 3942) (16% and 17%), C. aurantium (CRC 628 and 2717) (18% and 7%), C. taiwanica (CRC 2588) (21%), and C. neo-aurantium (C. obovoidea + C. unshiu graft chimera) (CRC 3816) (23%). Within other genera in the Aurantiodeae, Poncirus trifoliata (CRCs 301, 3957, 3549, and 4007), Severinia buxifolia (CRC 1497), Bergera koenigii (CRC 3165), and Glycosmis pentaphylla (CRC 3285) had the least amount of dieback, all at less than 23%. The two species within the Toddalioideae subfamily of the Rutaceae (Casimiroa edulis and Zanthoxylum ailanthoides) had among the least amount of dieback (1% and 8%, respectively). When considered by groups, the Citrons and Australian natives had the greatest amount of dieback in 2011, 68% and 65%, respectively. The trifoliates (Poncirus and hybrids) had the least dieback, ranging from 4% to 40%. The information from this study may be useful in germplasm enhancement and Citrus breeding targeting greater cold tolerance.

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Ed Stover, Randall Driggers, Matthew L. Richardson, David G. Hall, Yongping Duan and Richard F. Lee

Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri (Xcc) is the causal agent of Asiatic citrus canker (ACC), a commercially important disease in Florida citrus as well as in many other regions. In this study we evaluated occurrence of foliar lesions from ACC on progenies of 94 seed-source genotypes (hereafter called “parent genotypes”) of Citrus and Citrus relatives in the field in east–central Florida to identify the relative susceptibility to ACC. Eight seedlings per parent genotype were planted in a randomized complete block planting, but the number of plants assessed in some genotype groups was reduced by mortality at some or all sampling dates. Plants experienced ambient exposure to high Xcc inoculum pressure and plants were assessed in Sept. 2010, July 2011, Oct. 2011, May 2012, and Sept. 2012. The incidence and severity of ACC lesions were assessed and evaluated using non-parametric analyses to compare progeny from the 94 parent genotypes. Progeny of 14 parent genotypes did not exhibit ACC symptoms at any date. All were in genera other than Citrus with only Microcitrus and Eremocitrus being cross-compatible with Citrus. The kumquat hybrid C. halimii, two accessions of C. reticulata, C. nobilis, and C. sunki were the only Citrus species in the group that had a low severity (percent total leaf area showing symptoms) on each date of assessment. The aforementioned accessions had an average incidence and severity of ACC lesions of less than 4% in 2011 and 2012, but 26% to 38% in 2010 when no chemical control for ACC was applied in the adjoining citrus groves at our field site. Fourteen of the 16 progeny of C. reticulata and related parent genotypes were in the group with the lowest incidence and severity of ACC on two or more assessment dates. However, for analysis of only the most symptomatic leaves on each plant, 10 C. reticulata parent genotype progenies were in the most resistant category on the Sept. 2012 assessment despite having a low incidence and severity of ACC symptoms overall. Progeny of Poncirus and its hybrids as well as those of C. maxima, C. limon, and related species were the most severely diseased at all assessment dates. There were few instances in which progeny of different accessions of the same species had markedly different responses to ACC: progeny of C. reticulata ‘Fremont’ displayed more severe ACC compared with several other C. reticulata groups and C. aurantium ‘Zhuluan’ displayed much lower incidence and severity of ACC compared with several other accessions designated C. aurantium. Information on ACC susceptibility in diverse Citrus and Citrus relatives may prove useful for breeding programs aimed at reducing ACC susceptibility and will be of value to researchers interested in mechanisms of ACC resistance and susceptibility.

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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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Catherine J. Westbrook, David G. Hall, Ed Stover, Yong Ping Duan and Richard F. Lee

Huanglongbing (HLB) is a serious and devastating disease of citrus caused by Candidatus Liberibacter spp. and vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). The disease has the potential to greatly limit the production of citrus in Florida and other citrus-growing regions worldwide. Current control of D. citri and HLB is inadequate, but the identification and incorporation of D. citri resistance traits from uncultivated Citrus spp. and Citrus relatives is seen as a potential disease management strategy. In this study, seedlings of 87 Rutaceae seed-source genotypes, primarily in the orange subfamily Aurantioideae, were assessed in the field for their propensity in a free-choice situation for infestations of natural south Florida populations of D. citri. The majority of test populations surveyed hosted all three life stages of D. citri; however, there were significant differences among the test populations in the mean ranks for D. citri eggs (F = 3.13, df = 86, P < 0.0001), nymphs (F = 9.01, df = 86, P < 0.0001), and adults (F = 4.21, df = 86, P < 0.0001). The only sampled test population that was completely avoided by all life stages of D. citri was seedlings of Casimiroa edulis Llave et Lex, commonly known as white sapote, which was one of the few plants included in the study belonging to the Rutaceae subfamily Toddalioideae. Although not completely avoided, very low levels of D. citri were found on two surveyed test populations of Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf, seedlings of ‘Simmon's trifoliate’ and ‘Little-Leaf’. Poncirus trifoliata, the trifoliate orange, readily forms hybrids with Citrus spp., is commonly incorporated into rootstock varieties, and has been used in breeding-advanced scion material. The identification of partial resistance in P. trifoliata to D. citri could prove useful in future citrus breeding efforts aimed at reducing the incidence and spread of HLB. Determining if there is true resistance to D. citri in this and other germplasm sources with a low propensity for infestations in free-choice situations will require no-choice experiments.

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Matthew L. Richardson, Catherine J. Westbrook, David G. Hall, Ed Stover, Yong Ping Duan and Richard F. Lee

The citrus leafminer, Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), is a key pest in most citrus-growing regions worldwide. Adult citrus leafminers oviposit primarily on young elongating flush of Citrus as well as other Rutaceae and some ornamental plants. Larvae feed on the epidermal cell layer of developing leaves and injury to leaves provides a pathway for infection by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Hasse), the causal agent of Asiatic citrus canker. In this study, we quantified abundance of citrus leafminer larvae on progeny of 87 seed parent genotypes of Citrus and Citrus relatives (family Rutaceae) in the field in East–central Florida to identify those that have low abundance of leafminers. Progeny from the 87 parent genotypes varied in abundance of the leafminer. Progeny of 15 parent genotypes had a high mean abundance of more than six leafminers per flush shoot. All but one of these genotypes were in the Citrus genus. Progeny of 16 parent genotypes had zero, or nearly zero, leafminers, but none were from the Citrus genus. However, many of these 16 genotypes were from genera closely related to true citrus (subtribe Citrinae) and are sexually compatible with Citrus. Progeny of two parent genotypes in the subfamily Toddalioideae and Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) Corr. also had a low abundance of leafminer. Glycosmis pentaphylla also is a poor host for the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, and has biochemical resistance to the citrus weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus (L.), so this genotype as well as others identified as poor hosts for the leafminer may prove useful in breeding programs aimed at reducing the abundance of multiple insect pests on citrus.