If there were an endangered species list for fruit, America’s oranges would be on it. Since 2012, one third of the US’ oranges have died out – one half of the crops in Florida, alone. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, America’s favorite fruit is facing swift devastation not so much due to widely suspected drought effects, but due to a fatal and incurable disease wiping out groves of our beloved citrus.
Citrus greening, a disease which affects not just the precious fruits of a plant but the entire tree, first appeared on the scene in 1998, according to Gizmodo. So far the only way to combat the spread of this disease is to place groves under quarantine. As a result, Florida has been under quarantine since 2008 and Georgia followed suit soon after. Luckily, this method has just recently proven to somewhat halt the spread, though it does not reduce the impact on trees already infected.
Researchers have been looking into how to treat citrus greening, which at this point is considered fatal and incurable. Laser light therapy and antibiotics are in the running as possible treatments, yet researchers fear irreparable damage has already occurred. If the orange, considered one of the most hardy, easily transported, and long-lasting fruits on the market, is susceptible to the effects of this disease, the future may hold some grim news for our citrus fruits.