Goodbye to Oranges?

A virus has the orange industry in trouble, and growers are partly to blame.

Jack Woodall
Aug 1, 2007

The orange has become one of the world's favorite fruits: In 2005, Americans ate nine million metric tons of them, and Brazilians consumed another five million. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the top producers of oranges worldwide in 2005 were Brazil with 17.8 million metric tons, and the United States with 8.4 million. However, we may be about to kiss goodbye to orange juice, marmalade, and duck á l'orange. Oranges worldwide are under attack from a whole spectrum of diseases, and in one serious case, growers are to blame.

The citrus industry in Florida is being decimated by a disease that renders the fruit inedible. Called citrus greening, it is caused by the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus . Greening has already destroyed the citrus industry in China and Thailand, and it is spreading in Brazil. In the Philippines, more than 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) are affected...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?