MGN Online

Published: Jun 05, 2014 12:59 PM EDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - University of Florida researchers say they've found a possible treatment for a disease that's devastating citrus trees around the state.
    
The team from UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences said Wednesday that it has discovered a chemical that kills the citrus greening bacteria.
    
But researchers caution that this good news is the first step in a years-long process.
    
They've only tested the chemical in the lab. Researchers now must test the chemical in the real world and if that goes well, will seek federal approval to use the chemical commercially.
    
Greening affects Florida's $9 billion citrus industry.
    
Greening first enters the tree via the Asian citrus psyllid, which sucks on leaf sap and leaves behind bacteria. The bacteria starve the tree of nutrients.

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