The Death of a Popular Breakfast Drink

orange juice

Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS

by Jacob Hite, Sustainable Plant Systems major

As early as I can remember I have always loved orange juice with breakfast and throughout the day. Like many Americans in the morning ,orange juice is a colorful and healthy way to stay on top of a cold, and away from the expensive doctor.

Could you imagine a breakfast without orange juice? Well I couldn’t, but it may be in the horizon. A disease called citrus greening has been seen in Florida. Citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) is a bacteria disease that is not harmful to humans but will kill and decline the production of a tree in as little as 5 years. This disease is not treatable once the tree has it.  According to the University of Florida, citrus greening is found in Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, Brazil, and the United States.

Asian citrus psyllids vector the citrus greening bacteria.

The disease causes the fruit to become smaller, and have a green tint even when ripe. Also, according to APHIS, it also causes leaves to turn yellow, blotchy mottling, poor flowering, and dieback. The spread of the disease is done by Asian citrus psyllids when they feed on the leaves or stems, says APHIS. Other host plants include grapefruit and lemon, and limes.

citrus greening

Left photo: USDA ARS. Right:

Diseases are spreading from country to country every year. I don’t want to see a morning or go a hot afternoon without some lemonade or orange juice, and I think the rest of America can say the same. If you want to help, APHIS says to please look up citrus greening and the psyllids and if you are in Florida, or other states with citrus and you see symptoms contact your local USDA office.


UF/IFAS Citrus Extension > Citrus Greening (Huanglongbing)

USDA APHIS Pest Alert – Get the Facts on Citrus Greening

About the Author

I have loved plants ever since I was a kid. I have grown a wide range of plants, including fruits, vegetables, grains, house plants, and ornamental. These have all been for hobby and just plants to have around the house. I am currently attending The Ohio State University were I will be obtaining my Bachelors in Horticulture and my minor in Plant Pathology.  – Jacob Hite

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.




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