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J Econ Entomol. 2019 Oct 5. pii: toz258. doi: 10.1093/jee/toz258. [Epub ahead of print]

Effectiveness of Hot-Water Immersion Against Brevipalpus yothersi (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) as a Postharvest Treatment for Lemons.

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University of Florida, Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, FL.
USDA APHIS PPQ S&T Miami, Miami Laboratory, Coral Gables, FL.


Citrus leprosis is a destructive disease of citrus caused by several viruses (CiLVs) that are quarantine pests in the United States. Brevipalpus yothersi Baker (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) vectors the most virulent strain of CiLV. This mite is present in the United States and could facilitate the spread of the disease if CiLV reaches the country. Postharvest treatments could mitigate B. yothersi on imported commodities from areas where CiLV exists. The current study explores the effectiveness of hot-water immersion as a postharvest treatment against B. yothersi. Lemons were immersed in water at 21, 48, 53, or 63°C for 5, 10, and 15 min. Immersions at 53 and 63°C for all time schedules dislodged over 99% of adult mites. Lemon fruit quality and B. yothersi egg viability after hot-water immersion were also evaluated. Fruit quality significantly decreased in lemons treated at 63°C resulting in decay (grade 3, rejection), while at 53°C there was a quality reduction (grade 2, minimum acceptable market level) compared to lemons immersed at 21°C or nontreated controls (grade 1). None of the eggs hatched when the lemons were immersed in water at 63°C and an average of 1.5% hatched at 53°C for all time schedules. Immersion in water at 53°C for 5 min dislodged 99.71% and 57.14% of adult and immature mites, respectively, and resulted in 98.11% unhatched eggs without significant fruit quality reduction. Hot-water immersion could be a key component in a systems approach to control B. yothersi on imported citrus fruits from countries where citrus leprosis is present.


citrus leprosis; biosecurity; flat mites; invasive pests; systems approach


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