Metabolite Profiling of Candidatus Liberibacter Infection in Hamlin Sweet Oranges

Wei Lun Hung, Yu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease, caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), is considered the most serious citrus disease in the world. CLas infection has been shown to greatly affect metabolite profiles in citrus fruits. However, because of uneven distribution of CLas throughout the tree and a minimum bacterial titer requirement for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection, the infected trees may test false negative. To prevent this, metabolites of healthy Hamlin oranges (CLas-) obtained from the citrus undercover protection systems (CUPS) were investigated. Comparison of the metabolite profile of juice obtained from CLas- and CLas+ (asymptomatic and symptomatic) trees revealed significant differences in both volatile and nonvolatile metabolites. However, no consistent pattern could be observed in alcohols, esters, sesquiterpenes, sugars, flavanones, and limonoids as compared to previous studies. These results suggest that CLas may affect metabolite profiles of citrus fruits earlier than detecting infection by PCR. Citric acid, nobiletin, malic acid, and phenylalanine were identified as the metabolic biomarkers associated with the progression of HLB. Thus, the differential metabolites found in this study may serve as the biomarkers of HLB in its early stage, and the metabolite signature of CLas infection may provide useful information for developing a potential treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3983-3991
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Apr 18 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Candidatus Liberibacter
  • citrus
  • greening
  • Huanglongbing
  • metabolomics
  • sweet oranges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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