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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

Asian greening (Liberibacter asiaticus)

Host plants / species affected
Atalantia buxifolia
Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle)
Citrus aurantiifolia (lime)
Citrus aurantium (sour orange)
Citrus jambhiri (rough lemon)
Citrus latifolia (tahiti lime)
Citrus limon (lemon)
Citrus macroptera
Citrus maxima (pummelo)
Citrus medica (citron)
Citrus nobilis (tangor)
Citrus reticulata (mandarin)
Citrus sinensis (navel orange)
Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit)
Clausena indica
Clausena lansium (wampi)
Cleome rutidosperma (fringed spiderflower)
Limonia acidissima (elephant apple)
Pisonia aculeata
Trichostigma octandrum
Triphasia trifolia (limeberry)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  abnormal patterns
Fruit  -  abnormal shape
Fruit  -  premature drop
Fruit  -  reduced size
Growing point  -  dieback
Growing point  -  discoloration
Growing point  -  dwarfing; stunting
Leaves  -  abnormal colours
Leaves  -  abnormal forms
Leaves  -  abnormal patterns
Leaves  -  yellowed or dead
Whole plant  -  discoloration
Whole plant  -  dwarfing
Whole plant  -  early senescence
Whole plant  -  plant dead; dieback

The first symptom of Huanglongbing is usually the appearance of a yellow shoot on a tree (hence the name Huanglongbing, which literally means ‘yellow dragon disease’). Progressive yellowing of the entire canopy follows: leaves turn pale yellow, show symptoms of zinc or manganese deficiency, or display blotchy mottling, and are reduced in size. Blotchy mottle is the most characteristic symptom, but is not specific to Huanglongbing. Stubborn disease (Spiroplasma citri), severe forms of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV), species of Phytophthora, waterlogging, and the use of marcots can produce similar blotchy mottle patterns. Symptoms of zinc deficiency are also associated with the early stages of citrus blight (a disease of unconfirmed aetiology). However, Huanglongbing bacteria do not induce the xylem dysfunction and wilting observed in blighted trees.

Chronically infected trees are sparsely foliated and show extensive twig dieback. The fruits are often small, lopsided, can have a sour or bitter taste (Jepson, 2009; ANR, 2010; USDA, 2012) and are poorly coloured (hence the origin of the name greening). They often contain aborted seeds. Similar fruit symptoms are also observed with CTV infection. The lifespan of infected trees is shortened (Miyakawa, 1980; Ammar et al., 2011).

Prevention and control

Phytosanitary Measures

In areas where the disease is not present, effective quarantine measures are essential to prevent the introduction of the HLB organism or the vector. Furthermore, the possibility exists that the vector could be introduced 'naturally' or through alternative hosts such as Murraya spp. This poses a potential threat because the adult D. citri can transmit the disease, which can persist in the vector for up to 3 months (da Graca and Korsten, 2004).

Biological Control

In the absence of hyperparaitic wasps, the parasitic wasp Tamarixia radiata significantly reduced populations of D. citri, the vector of HLB, on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, leaving a strongly limited population of the vector (Aubert and Quilici, 1984).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


Huanglongbing has been regarded as one of the most important threats to global commercial and sustainable citrus production (Garnier et al., 2000Duan et al., 2009; ANR, 2010; Ammar et al., 2011; Islam et al., 2012). It is estimated that globally more than 60 million trees had been destroyed by the disease by the early 1990s (Aubert, 1993). In West Java alone it was estimated that from 1960 onwards no less than 3 million trees were destroyed by Huanglongbing, and the destruction is still taking place (Tirtawadja, 1980). In Asia, approximately 100 million infected citrus trees have been destroyed by this disease, and 1 million trees were eliminated in Brazil in 2004 (Gottwald et al., 2007Duan et al., 2009).

Related treatment support
Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Nguyen Ngoc Anh Thu; Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa; Trinh Xuan Hoat; CABI, 2012, English language
Nguyen Ngoc Anh Thu; Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa; Trinh Xuan Hoat; CABI, 2012, Vietnamese language
Pest Management Decision Guides
UK, CABI; CABI, 2014, Spanish language
CABI; CABI, 2014, Portuguese language
León González, R.; Vicente Orozco, J.; Soto, G.; CABI, 2014, Spanish language
Nuñez, C.; Fortin, C.; Castillo, A.; Castillo, E.; CABI, 2013, Spanish language
UK, CABI; CABI, 2014, English language
External factsheets
USDA-NAL National Invasive Species Information Center Species Profiles, USDA-NAL National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC), 2012, English language
USDA-APHIS-PPQ CPHST Citrus Diseases Fact Sheets, USDA-APHIS-PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST), 2011, English language
DPI NSW factsheets, New South Wales Government, Department of Primary Industries, Australia, 2012, English language
DPI NSW factsheets, New South Wales Government, Department of Primary Industries, Australia, 2012, English language
DPI NSW factsheets, New South Wales Government, Department of Primary Industries, Australia, 2012, English language
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