Veronica Manzanero


BSc. in Biology, University of Belize

MSc. in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Caribbean Basin, University of Belize

Thesis title

Enhancing Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening) Disease Management in Belize: Preliminary Assessment of the response of 8 Scion/Rootstock Combinations for HLB Tolerance & Assessment of the Current HLB Status and Impact of HLB in Belize

Thesis abstract

Belize is one of the most citrus dependent countries in the world and 80% of the citrus growers are small and medium scale. Since the discovery of Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease in the country in 2009, yields have fallen by 52%, threatening the future sustainability of the Belize citrus industry and food security. Currently, there is no cure for HLB. Management strategies based only on the “Three-Pronged System” (TPS) have not proven effective in Belize possibly due to difficulty and limitations in full implementation of the system, therefore, additional management strategies are required. The use of HLB tolerant varieties is a potential management strategy to support the TPS system albeit not yet explored in Belize. Recent research finding suggests that there are varying levels of HLB tolerance expressed by some scions, rootstocks or a combination of both, in artificial (graft) and natural HLB transmission tests in young citrus plants. These observations are in line with responses observed in mature trees in the field. However, some of the citrus rootstocks identified with HLB tolerance have not adopted well to the large production areas with high clay content soils in Belize; thus, preventing the use of these rootstocks to manage HLB in the country. This study aims to assess the preliminary response of eight scion/rootstock combinations for HLB tolerance, using artificial and natural HLB transmission tests. Also evaluated will be disease incidence, severity, and the impact of HLB on yields and fruit quality on 8-12 years old Valencia orange trees in existing commercial citrus groves. Information on HLB disease status and HLB impact on yield and fruit quality will provide citrus growers, decision makers and other stakeholders with reliable information on the impact of HLB in Belize.

Doctoral research funded by

Self funded

Field work supported by Fiat Panis and Citrus Research and Education Institute (CREI) of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) of Belize.

Supervisors of
doctoral work

Professor Dr. Christian Borgemeister

Professor Dr. Mamoudou Setamou

Advisor at ZEF

Professor Dr. Christian Borgemeister

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Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
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Veronica Manzanero

Junior Researcher

Department :
ZEF C: Department of Ecology and Natural Resources Management