PRE-HLB goal is to develop and implement a holistic contingency plan to protect the citrus sector in the EU from HLB disease drivers and to co‐create new solutions to manage the disease through a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with experienced partners from America and Asia.

The EU citriculture is threatened by the emerging disease Huanglongbing (HLB, also known as Greening), currently considered the most devastating citrus disease due to its rapid dispersal, severity and fast progression of symptoms, huge losses in fruit production and quality, cost and difficulty of preventing new infections, lack of resistant commercial citrus varieties and economically feasible treatments for infected trees, and absence of durable control mechanisms. HLB is generating multimillion economic losses to most citrus industries worldwide. Now is the time to start research in the EU because the vector T. erytreae has been detected and is spreading in Spain and Portugal.


Establish short‐term preventive actions to monitor vector spread and risk of HLB invasion in the EU, to establish efficient control measures and to set up an HLB information and communication network to discuss Pre‐HLB results with phytosanitary authorities to facilitate the development and implementation of a new EU health policy.

Setting up medium‐term mitigation actions to reduce the spread of psyllid/HLB via rapid interventions though analysis of the Insect interactions to understand the biology of the vector/disease. Development of Vector/Bacteria detection and integrated pest management strategies. Data‐ and model-based risk assessment tools adjusted to the EU and associates.

Implementing long‐term avoidance actions by biotechnological approaches, including exploitation of resistance to HLB-causing bacteria or to insect vectors, generation of genetic resistance to them, and development of new biocontrol agents.

HLB. More than 5 reasons to be on alert

  1. Considered the most devastating of citrus diseases: HLB affects all its varieties and rootstock. No resistant genotype has been found
  2. Native to Southeast Asia, has spread in a decade to almost every citrus-growing region of the world.
  3. The world’s largest citrus producers are already affected and suffer significant economic losses.
  4. HLB is caused by three species of bacteria, transmitted by insects Trioza erytreae and Diaphorina citri.
  5. Both insects have been detected in the Azores and the Canary Islands. Trioza erytreae was detected in the Iberian Peninsula.

HLB. More than 5 reasons to be on alert

  1. Considered the most devastating of citrus diseases: HLB affects all its varieties and rootstock. No resistant genotype has been found
  2. Native to Southeast Asia, has spread in a decade to almost every citrus-growing region of the world.
  3. The world’s largest citrus producers are already affected and suffer significant economic losses.
  4. HLB is caused by three species of bacteria, transmitted by insects Trioza erytreae and Diaphorina citri.
  5. Both insects have been detected in the Azores and the Canary Islands. Trioza erytreae was detected in the Iberian Peninsula.



The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe.

It belongs to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation.

It has 70 fully own institutes or centres distributed throughout Spain, 53 Joint Research Units with universities / other research institutions, with delegations in Brussels and Rome.


IPB is a public institution of higher education and holds five schools and several research centres. The IPB team is grouped at the Laboratory of AgroBioTechnology, hosted at the (ESA-IPB) – Portugal.

Its team is specialized in plant protection, ecology and population dynamics of insect pest, plant pathology (disease diagnosis and control), as well as Integrated Pest Management and biological control of the most important agroecosystems of Mediterranean area such as olives, chestnut, almond, apple and vineyards.


CREA-OFA is one of the 12 Centres of the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, a National Research Organization operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture in Italy.

The main scientific competence calls for agriculture, agroindustry, food, fishery and forestry. It is concerned with the conservation and enhancement of genetic resources, genetics, genomics and genetic improvement of varieties and rootstocks, in addition to evaluation of varietal innovations.

It develops innovative methods for in vivo and in vitro propagation. Moreover applies integrated management and defence methods to improve the quality and preservation of fruits and / or juices. It also deals with the enhancement of the agro‐food by.


The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research organization in Italy and one of the major on the international stage, with a high degree of multidisciplinarity.

Its Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante (CNR-IPSP) is specifically dedicated to plant protection in agriculture and forestry. Involved in the identification and characterization of quarantine and harmful organisms, investigations on host‐defence responses and mechanisms underpinning the host susceptibility or tolerance/resistance; implementation of pathogen detection approaches and development of novel diagnostic tools; disease ethology and epidemiology; sanitation and production of pathogen‐free germ plasm.


CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development is a public industrial and commercial enterprise (EPIC) under the joint authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CIRAD’s activities involve life sciences, social sciences and engineering sciences, applied to agriculture, food and rural territories.

The center works on food security, ecological intensification, emerging diseases, the future of agriculture in developing countries, etc.


The Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA) was established in 1868 and it is the leading institution for agricultural research in Eastern Spain. 

IVIA integrates seven research centres: Genomics, Citriculture and Crop Production, Sustainable Agriculture, Postharvest Technology, Livestock Technology, Plant Protection and Biotechnology and Agriengineering. 

The institute participates in international programs funded by the EU and in national / international projects with public and private funds, also involved in activities of agricultural research for development.


Embrapa (EMB) is under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply. EMB has taken on the challenge to develop a genuinely Brazilian model of tropical agriculture and livestock to overcome the barriers that limited the production of food, fibre, and fuel in our country. 

It is responsible for researches focused on the improvement of yield and product quality, reduction of production costs and impacts, and better use of underutilized land for the crops: cassava, citrus, banana, pineapple, etc.


The University of Cambridge is a well-regarded academic institution that is regularly listed amongst the top performing universities in the world. 

The University has a strong track record for innovative research with world leading departments of plant research in the Department of Plant Sciences and the recently established Sainsbury Laboratory supported by the Gatsby Foundation.

The Epidemiology and Modelling Group, led by Professor Gilligan (Dept. of Plant Sciences) has an established international record in modelling emerging epidemics of plant disease. Current research is focused on establishing and testing a theoretical framework that identifies the mechanisms that control invasion, persistence, scaling and variability of epidemics within changing agricultural and natural landscapes.


Antimicrobial Peptide Biotechnologies S.L. (AMP) is a company dedicated to the development of new antimicrobials and anti-infectives, based on a proprietary technology and patented products, licensed by the University of Girona.

AMP develops synthetic antimicrobial peptides using as models natural compounds found in living organisms, but improving activity and action spectrum, decreasing toxicity and controlling biodegradability. 

The technology also includes beneficial microorganisms producing natural antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins, cyclolipopeptides and pseudopeptides), useful to develop biopreservatives for food products and biopesticides for agricultural use.


Hunan Agricultural University (HUN) has more than 110 years of history. HUN will take the task of investigation of the resistance (or tolerance) mechanism of Murraya to HLB via transcriptomic profiling analysis in WP7 (T7.3).

Three different species, M. paniculata, M. tetramera, and M. kwangsiensis will be graft-inoculated with HLB‐infected citrus shoots (showing typical HLB symptoms) free of other diseases and by feeding with psyllids containing HLB bacteria.


Durham University, founded in 1832, has an excellent worldwide reputation in all areas of natural and social sciences, arts and humanities. 

Durham University will produce novel fusion protein based biopesticides to enable “proof of concept” studies to evaluate efficacy against the Asian citrus pysllid Diaphorina citri.

With 51 academic staff and research fellows, its Department of Biosciences ranks in the top ten UK Biology Departments for research impact and contributes to multidisciplinary University initiatives in the Bio‐X‐network.


The Plant Hormone Biology and Plant Physiology groups are embedded in the Green Life Sciences cluster of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). 

Here, metabolomics, proteomics and genomics approaches are being used to understand development and (a)biotic stress responses of plants, while at the cellular level, biochemistry and state-of-the-art confocal microscopy are being used to monitor detailed molecular events.


Koppert España, as a subsidiary of Koppert BV, started its activity in Spain in 1990, providing its services in all the agricultural areas of the country. 

The main activities of Koppert are producing and selling biocontrol agents for pests and agricultural diseases, as well as bumblebees for natural pollination and consultancy in all related with the application of biological control agents. 

KOP research and development is aimed at developing biocontrol-based pest and disease management methods for agricultural crops in the Mediterranean area.


Agroambient, the Counselling of Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Rural Development is the highest body in Valencia (Spain) responsible for directing and implementing the Consell’s policy on agriculture, livestock, fisheries, food, environment, water resources, climate change, rural development, common agricultural policy and fire prevention (DECREE 158/2015, of 18 September, of the Consell, which approves the organic and functional Regulation). 

The department responsible for carrying out the PREHLB project is The General Direction of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, through the Plant Health Service.


MART, a group of companies dedicated to the production, marketing and research of citrus fruits, was founded in 1946, is a multinational company that produces in all the Spanish citrus zones as well as in Portugal.

It is Present in all the European countries being suppliers of most chains of distribution in Europe, having very close and long‐term relationships, it collaborates at a technical and commercial level with most of the countries producing the Mediterranean arc, South America and South Africa.


Fundo de Defesa da Citricultura (Fund for Citrus Protection) – FUND (Araraquara, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil). It is a non-profitable private association maintained by citrus growers and juice manufacturers to foster the sustainable development of the Brazilian citrus industry.

It works with citrus growers to support them with effective, sustainable practices to manage the most import citrus diseases, such as huanglongbing, citrus canker, citrus black spot, postblossom fruit drop, citrus leprosis, citrus variegated chlorosis, and citrus sudden death.


The Valencian Association of Farmers (AVA) is a professional agricultural organization of reference in the Region of Valencia (SPAIN). 

It is a demanding entity, of an entrepreneurial nature, dedicated to the defence of the interests of farmers and ranchers. An independent group, with no political ties, integrated at the national level in the Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (ASAJA) and reformist and moderate. 

AVA-ASAJA offers a long list of services to its partners: from training and information to advice and management. A comprehensive, specialized and agile service that allows both compliance with current legislation and optimization of agricultural holdings.


ZAB is a Spanish SME (over 200 employees) with wide experience in supporting entities in the management of their RTD and innovation activities, as well as in technology transfer projects and activities. 

It is a consolidated RTD and Innovation consultancy firm working across Europe on these fields since 1986. Its headquarters are in Spain (Mutilva, next to Pamplona), having offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Vigo, Zaragoza, Paris, Colombia, Brussels and London.

Its international project department, the one actively linked to this project, is comprised by a remarkable team of specialists (technical staff, lawyers, economists) with vast experience in project and tender management and in supporting the companies in the participation process. The core tasks of the international team comprise the preparation, negotiation and management of R&D and innovation projects, the establishment of big consortia, the communication with EC and other public administration authorities as well as the development of studies for public bodies.


UNICT, The University of Catania is a university founded in 1434. The mission of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environment is the improvement of education and research in agriculture, food production and sustainability and environment in the Mediterranean basin and to educate future professionals who will enhance the knowledge and dissemination in those fields and will serve the needs of the society.

UNICT will perform genetic transformation using constructs with different promoters, regulatory and candidate genes as they will be defined from IBMCP‐CSIC and in cooperation with Fundecitrus. Most promising genes will be used for incorporation into mature citrus using cisgenics.


Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) has relevant experience participating in international research programmes, with over 100 FP7 projects and 40 H2020 projects in 2014-2015. 

UPV researchers are also actively involved all stages of the H2020 life program, from work programme drafting discussions, to project coordination. UPV is also a partner in several major partnering initiatives (JTIs, PPPs, KICs…).

The UPV group will be, in cooperation with the other groups involved in this task, responsible of the management and preparation of the RNA for sequencing, including preliminary experiments aimed to select the best time‐points after infection, experimental design for transcriptomics, library construction, and next‐generation sequencing management


Based in the University Business Center of the Science Park of the University of Valencia (PCUV), VALGENETICS (VAL) is a Spanish SME that develops global strategies in plant health and plant breeding. 

The products and services of ValGenetics are addressed to companies and public organizations whose field of activity revolves around the agricultural sector. 

The company has developed to date technologies for more than 120 pathogens (viruses, viroids, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and phytoplasmas), already present in its catalog 2018.


The University of Algarve is a Portuguese public higher education institution located in the southern region of Portugal. Algarve is the major producer region of citrus in Portugal. 

This framework led ALG to focus research on Citrus culturesince its foundation, to develop several areas such as citrus production, citrus fertilization and nutrition and investigation on Citrus tristeza virus (CTV).

The ALG team that integrates pre‐HLB proposal is from Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering (DCBB). This team has focused their research work in citrus production, plant protection, environmental and food microbiology and CTV investigation.


Frusoal – Frutas do Sotavento Algarve (FRU) is a farmer’s cooperative that began operations on 1990. 

In those early days, its activity centred on the production, packing and distribution to traditional markets of citrus fruits and some others such as figs, as well as the market gardening of vegetables.


VOLCANI CENTRE, the Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel is Israel’s largest research centre for agriculture. 

The ARO encompasses six institutes, responsible for Plant Sciences, Animal Science, Plant Protection, Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Postharvest and Food Sciences.

The Consortium,
on the map

PreHLB is formed by a multidisciplinary consortium led by the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Plant Biology – IBMCP (CSIC-UPV, Spain). It is a well-balanced group made up by various research centers, universities, consultancy firms and private companies from 6 different European countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands) and 3 countries of the world (Brasil, China and Israel).


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