The EU citriculture is threatened by the emerging disease Huanglongbing (HLB, also known as Greening), considered the most devastating citrus disease due to its rapid dispersal, severity and fast progression of symptoms, huge losses in fruit production and quality, cost and difficulty of preventing new infections, lack of resistant citrus varieties and economically feasible treatments for infected trees, and absence of durable control mechanisms. HLB generates multimillion economic losses to citrus industry. Now it is time to start the research in the EU because the vector Trioza erytreae has been detected and is spreading in Spain and Portugal.
The overarching objective of Pre-HLB is to develop and implement a holistic contingency plan to protect the citrus sector in the EU from HLB disease drivers and to co-create new solutions to manage the disease through a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with experienced partners from America and Asia.
The Pre-HLB work plan includes three specific objectives to monitor progress:
a) Pre-HLB preventive actions and development of mid-term tools will limit HLB potential introduction, reducing the potential economic impact in EU (estimated in 7.7 billion euros) by 40%
b) The consortium will contribute to improve current HLB surveillance, contingency and control strategies. Up to 100,000Ha of citrus cropping area will be monitored to obtain field information on potential HLB infection and the dynamics of the vector in the subareas of highest risk, thus limiting disease/infestation spread.
c) Excellent European research centres will join forces to fill research gaps in vector biology, host/vector/pathogen interactions, Aurantioideae genetics and genomics, as well as to develop new biotechnological tools, such as new effectors, metabolites, bio-stimulants and biopesticides.Results will identify HLB-resistance traits and will allow to generate long-term resistance.This is one major milestone in the field of citriculture.

Deadline 31 May 2023

Programme HORIZON 2020 RIA – Research and Innovation action

Institute IPSP – Institute for sustainable plant protection

Contact Francesco Di Serio

Role Partner


Area Basi molecolari e cellulari della vita degli organismi