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Perspective|07 Mar 2020|OPEN
Rationale for reconsidering current regulations restricting use of hybrids in orange juice
Ed Stover1, Frederick G. Gmitter Jr.2, Jude Grosser2, Elizabeth Baldwin1, Guohong Albert Wu3, Jinhe Bai1, Yu Wang2, Peter Chaires4 & Juan Carlos Motamayor5
1USDA/ARS, US Horticultural Research Lab., 2001 S Rock Rd., Ft. Pierce, FL, 34945, USA
2Citrus Research and Education Center, Univ. Florida, 700 Experiment Station Rd., Lake Alfred, FL, 33850, USA
3US Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA
4New Varieties Development & Management Corp., PO Box 941058, Maitland, FL, 32794, USA
5The Coca-Cola Company, 2651 Orange Ave., Apopka, FL, 32703, USA

Horticulture Research 7,
Article number: 38 (2020)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2020.38
Views: 550

Received: 27 Nov 2019
Revised: 19 Feb 2020
Accepted: 24 Feb 2020
Published online: 07 Mar 2020

Abstract

Huanglongbing (HLB) is a disease that has devastated the Florida citrus industry, threatens the entire U.S. citrus industry, and globally is rapidly spreading. Florida’s citrus production is 90% sweet orange, which is quite sensitive to HLB. The heavy reliance on sweet orange for Florida citrus production makes the industry especially vulnerable to diseases that are damaging to this type of citrus. Furthermore, 90% of Florida oranges are used in producing orange juice that is defined by a federal regulation known as the “orange juice standard”, specifying that at least 90% of “orange juice” must be derived from Citrus sinensis. Genomic analyses definitively reveal that sweet orange is not a true species, but just one of many introgression hybrids of C. reticulata and C. maxima, with phenotypic diversity resulting from accumulated mutations in this single hybrid, the “sweet orange”. No other fruit industry is limited by law to such a narrow genetic base. Fortunately, there are new citrus hybrids displaying reduced sensitivity to HLB, and in some cases they produce juice, alone or in blends, that consumers would recognize as “orange juice”. Reconsidering current regulations on orange juice standards may permit use of such hybrids in “orange juice”, providing greater latitude for commercialization of these hybrids, leading to higher-quality orange juice and a more sustainable Florida orange juice industry.