Harmful Crop Disease Found In North America For First Time Here In Florida

Cadidatus Phytoplasma brasiliens

Photo: University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

A phytoplasma disease that is known for its threat to fruit and vegetable crops has been found for the first time in North America...and it's right here in Florida.

Scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say they discovered the disease called Cadidatus Phytoplasma brasiliens in yellow nutsedge, one of the most rapidly spreading weeds commonly found in the U.S.

The find was confirmed in Fort Pierce while scientists were conducting research for the disease called "Lethal Bronzing," which attacks palm trees.

UF is now seeking funding for the next steps of their research and scientists don't yet know the extent of the disease in Florida or what threat it may pose.

The phytoplasma that they discovered has until now only been seen in South America and the Middle East.

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