Date: July 16, 2020
Time: 2 P.M. ET
Title: Bridging Horticulture and Food Sciences to Overcome HLB-induced Off-flavor in Citrus
Speaker: Dr. Anne Plotto, Research Plant Physiologist, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory
Description: The Florida citrus industry has been devastated by the citrus greening disease (AKA Huanglongbing or HLB), which has decreased acreage and production by 30% and 66%, respectively, since 2005. The pathogen associated with HLB is a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), vectored by an insect psyllid, Diaphorina citri. CLas-infected trees showing HLB symptoms produce fruit with compromised quality, and juice from severely affected oranges is less sweet, more sour and more bitter than juice from healthy fruit, and has off-flavor. There is no cure for HLB and no orchard management practices, other than control of the insect vector, have proven to slow the development of HLB. Likewise, no commercial citrus are resistant to CLas although there are differences in severity of HLB symptoms among different citrus types. Some hybrids of Citrus with Poncirus trifoliata, a sexually compatible member of the Rutaceae, have shown less susceptibility to the disease, but P. trifoliata can impart a unique unpleasant flavor to fruit of the first generations of hybrids. Research conducted at the US Horticultural Research Laboratory has led characterization of HLB-impact on orange juice quality by sensory evaluation, and identified some of the chemical components of off-flavor. Current attempts are being made to mitigate orange juice HLB-induced off-flavor using blends with juice from less HLB-sensitive citrus, and addition of citrus extracts, to provide short-term solutions for processors. Long-term projects evaluate hybrids tolerant to HLB using sensory evaluation and flavor chemistry. This webinar will provide an overview of the collaboration between horticulturists, breeders and food scientists that work together to find solutions to maintain the quality of fresh and processed citrus.
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