The use of the non-toxic product reduced in up to 98% the number of insects that landed in the grove in experiment.
Brazilian producers might have one more sustainable tool in the fight against greening, one of the main diseases of citriculture. A research carried out by Fundecitrus, a research center maintained in partnership between producers and the industry, points out that the use of processed kaolin, a non-toxic compound specially formulated for spraying on agricultural crops, can reduce the entry of psyllid, the insect vector of citrus greening disease, in citrus groves.
Two experiments were performed in the laboratory. The first one to evaluate the landing of the psyllid, when insects were released on plants sprayed with processed kaolin and on plants sprayed with water. In the second experiment, insects were placed on the surface of plants and monitored electronically using a technique that identifies all of their feeding habits. The objective was to evaluate the feeding habits of the insect on seedlings sprayed with processed kaolin.
As a result of the first experiment, processed kaolin reduced in about 40% the number of psyllids that landed on the treated plants compared to those that were only sprayed with water. In addition, the test followed once again with the plants sprayed only with water. And regardless of the treatments, 90% of the psyllids penetrate their styles (oral apparatus) in the plants. However, processed kaolin reduced in about 50% the number of insects that reached the phloem compared to untreated plants. “The study showed that processed kaolin is efficient to prevent infestation of psyllids, interfering negatively in the insect’s ability to find citrus trees,” explains Fundecitrus researcher and work coordinator, Mr. Marcelo Miranda.
Kaolin, when mixed with water and sprayed on plants, forms a protective white layer that reflects solar radiation, reducing leaf temperature and mitigating sunburn, and making it difficult for insects to recognize the plants. “The combination of spraying processed kaolin with insecticides can be an effective strategy for the management of disease at the edges.” In his opinion, the result indicates that processed kaolin has great potential to be incorporated into citrus greening control.