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Mobile thermotherapy system for treating HLB-infected citrus trees utilizing hot water and steam

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800513.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800513)
Authors:   Jaafar Abdulridha, Yiannis Ampatzidis, Shirin Ghatrehsamani, Reza Ehsani
Keywords:   HLB, citrus disease, heat, steam, thermal therapy, hot water

Abstract. Since 2005, Florida citrus industry has been devastated by HLB. Almost all (if not all) citrus groves in Florida are infected. Several techniques with promising results have been used to control HLB using chemical application and management practices to eliminate the defective trees. There is still an urgent need to develop management practices for HLB-infected trees. Even though there is no known cure for HLB, our research team has developed a heat thermotherapy system (short-term solution) for sustaining productivity of HLB-affected trees. In this study, we evaluate a mobile heat thermotherapy system that utilizes hot water and steam to treat HLB-infected citrus trees. The infected trees were treated for up to 90 s with 55oC, utilizing combined hot water and steam therapy (HWS). Experiments were conducted in a citrus grove in Florida, USA. The heat distribution inside the tent was monitored for both applications. Three bars were installed around tree with three height levels of temperature sensors. The sensors were placed on the top, middle and lower parts of the tree. The HWS treatment achieved the target temperature (55oC) in a short time and produced an almost uniform heat distribution. This mobile heat thermotherapy system can be a valuable solution for treating HLB-infected citrus trees utilizing hot water and steam.

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