Lethal Bronzing Disease (LBD)

Lethal bronzing disease (LBD) (formerly Texas Phoenix Palm Decline - TPPD) is a phytoplasma disease that causes lethal decline in 16 different species of palm species.  LBD is known from Florida, Louisiana, and Texas within the United States and has also been documented in Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands.  LBD was first found in Florida in 2006 near Tampa and has since spread throughout much of the state, ranging as far north as Jacksonville and as far south as Key Largo.  LBD is caused by the 16SrIV-D phytoplasma which is a close relative to the causal agent of lethal yellowing (LY), the 16SrIV-A phytoplasma.

Current research efforts on this disease in Florida involve both basic and applied studies that help to understand the biology of the pathogen the ultimate goal of managing the disease to prevent significant economic loss to the green industries of Florida (i.e. Nurseries, Landscaping, etc.).  Current ongoing projects in the lab include...

1) Vector identification

2) Transmission mechanics

3) Development of novel diagnostic tools

4) Optimization of antibiotic (oxytetracycline - hydrochloride) treatments for infected palms