It turns out that dogs can segregate “ incurable citrus disease '' with 99% accuracy before onset
Dogs are known to have a very sharp sense of smell.Detect human cancerSome dogs do. A newly published study reports that "dogs can determine whether a citrus tree is infected with disease with high accuracy before symptoms develop."
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Dog sleuths sniff out crop disease hitting citrus trees
Pathogen infection causes yellow spots on leaves and green spots on fruitsCitrus greening diseaseIt is said to be one of the world's most serious citrus diseases, with leaf-eating insects spreading the infection and having no cure once infected.
About citrus greening disease affecting almost all citrus,United States Department of AgricultureResearcher ofTim Gottwald"It's like cancer. It's metastasized to other trees and can't be cured." With citrus greening, visible symptoms do not appear immediately after infection with the pathogen. Trees have been infected with the pathogen several months to several years before symptoms such as spots appear.
The only way to prevent the spread of citrus greening disease is to cut down and remove infected trees, but this requires the early detection of diseased trees. However, it seems that it is difficult for even researchers to diagnose citrus greening disease from the infection of the pathogen until the visible symptoms appear, and as a result this time lag spreads the infection of citrus greening disease Is connected to
To achieve early detection of citrus greening, Gottwald and his colleagues devised a method to "train dogs to learn the odor of citrus with citrus greening." It seems that the change in odor due to citrus greening disease can not be perceived by humans, but the research team thought that dogs with excellent smell may be able to detect the change in odor.
In fact, the research team taught 20 dogs the smell of citrus that had developed citrus greening disease. The training period was a few weeks, but an experiment conducted in a grapefruit orchard in Texas said that the dog was able to separate the citrus tree from the healthy tree with 99% accuracy. "I wasn't surprised that dogs could smell the citrus greening disease, but I was surprised that they showed surprisingly high precision," Gottwald said.
The researchers are also conducting experiments that compare conventional DNA testing with dog testing, which was used to identify suspected infected trees. As a result, dogs were able to identify infected trees within a few weeks after the tree became infected with the pathogen, but DNA testing showed that two-thirds of the tree was 17 months after infection. It is said that only trees that hit the area could identify the infection.
He is a microbiologist at the University of Washington following the results of Gottwald's researchPhuc Ha"This may be a very exciting result for those who grow citrus," he commented. In the future, orchard operators have stated that dogs may become a fast and accurate way to identify citrus greening.