Photosynthesis and kaolin particle films – Welcome Juanpablo

Kaolin particle films are having promising effects in managing Asian citrus psyllid, but they also have effects on photosynthesis.  To help dig into this, a new member has joined our lab: Juanpablo Salvatierra Miranda, or “JP.”  He’s 4 months into his first round of experiments, and he’s already made some important observations.  He’s focusing on the how photosynthesis changes over the course of a day – “diurnal photosynthetic dynamics” – in response to kaolin particle films of different colors.

color buckets

JP comes most recently from his native Chile, where he was working for a private agricultural research company. He has experience in horticulture of vegetables, wine grape, and citrus. His Master’s thesis will consider how different colored films affect growth and photosynthesis, as well as how these affect the development of huanglongbing symptoms in the field.

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JP Salvatierra applies white kaolin film in one of his experiments.
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Effects of kaolin on Asian citrus psyllid

Kaolin films are showing promising results in management of Asian citrus psyllid.  I recently presented preliminary results from our trial of Surround kaolin clay product and a Surround that we have modified with a red dye in presentations to the Polk County OJ Break and to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation research lunch.  To see the complete presentation click here.   

kaolin in field 6 mo
Six-month old trees with white kaolin.

The results are promising: Over the course of the first year after planting we saw an 78% reduction in mean psyllid numbers per tree in the white kaolin treatment.  Thus far, this has also translated in lower infection rates, with a mean of 10% infection in the white kaolin versus 25% in the foliar insecticide treatment.  These results are early, so we should be cautious about jumping to conclusions.  However, other studies have produced similar results, and this means that growers should consider kaolin as a viable practice to incorporate into their management programs.

psyllid plot 1 year
Mean Asian citrus psyllid counts based on weekly counts over the first year after planting on trees treated with Red-dyed or non-dyed (White) kaolin or with foliar insecticide. Click here for full presentation.