Testing is underway to learn more about the degree to which Zinkicide controls HLB in citrus orchard. As part of these trials, scientists will investigate the fate of bactericide particles as they break down after use. What happens to these nanoparticles over time will be fully investigated to ensure safety of the product.
Because Zinkicide is a specially formulated bactericidal particle that is small enough to enter the plant vascular tissue where the bacteria lives, it can act against the bacteria in ways currently available bactericides cannot. Zinkicide is made from plant nutrient and plant-derived compounds that create novel bactericidal activity not found in the raw ingredients. However, Zinkicide particles are designed to break down into these same nutrients after performing the bactericidal function.
Superior antimicrobial activity results from quantum confinement and surface defect properties (atomic/nanoscale). The Zinkicide particle size was designed to match that of Green Fluorescent Proteins (GFP, ~3.1 nm size) to allow systemic movement to reach phloem tissue and interact with Las. It was designed for ease of manufacturing, colloidal stability, strong adherence to plant surfaces, and with a neutral pH and ion solubility for low phytotoxicity.
The effect of this new bactericide on citrus tree health, fruit production and quality will be determined. Crop improvement data from field trials will be used in economic analyses to determine if it will allow citrus growers impacted by HLB to return to profitable production. Once shown to be safe and effective for control of HLB, it will likely be useful for control of many other bacterial pathogens that significantly limit food production and threaten farmers' livelihoods.