ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Preservation Sciences Inc. says its agricultural antimicrobial product Canker Kill(TM) successfully killed virtually all of the bacterium that causes citrus canker in recent independent lab tests.

Citrus canker is a devastating tree disease responsible for billions of dollars in damages to the world's orange juice and citrus trees, among other important crops.

The USDA recently granted technical clearance for experimental use of Canker Kill in treatment of citrus canker. An independent lab, ABC Research in Gainesville, Fla., conducted controlled multi-lab tests of Canker Kill, generating new data demonstrating the effectiveness of the Preservation Sciences antimicrobial product.

The experiments showed near-total suppression of the Xanthomonas bacteria, which is responsible for the citrus canker that has caused billions of dollars in damages to the nation's citrus crops. In the tests, Preservation Science's patent-pending Canker Kill product was effective at killing 99.995 percent of the canker bacteria, with a 98.84 percent reduction of mean canker counts following a 5-minute exposure time.

Canker Kill is a natural, environmentally safe product developed by Preservation Sciences that treats citrus canker. Derived from citrus, the product has the potential to be absorbed by orange trees, but can be used to fight the canker disease that threatens grapefruit, lemon and other citrus tree crops.

"We are working with growers and researchers in Florida to test the impact on infected trees," said Gary L. Harrison, CEO of Preservation Sciences. "At about $9 billion, citrus is the second largest industry in Florida, and the entire industry is concerned about the impact of canker. We are hopeful that we can give Florida growers a safe product that will treat canker. Worldwide, the citrus industry has the same concerns."

The test report, which was supervised by Ken Kennedy, Vice President of Research Microbiology at ABC Research, tested a culture of Xanthomonas campestris pv. citrumelo obtained from the Department of Plant Industry and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Citrus canker is a disease that causes lesions on the leaves, stems and the fruit of citrus trees, including limes, oranges and grapefruit. While not harmful to humans, canker significantly affects the vitality of the fruit, causing the leaves and fruit to drop prematurely. A fruit infected is safe to eat but too unsightly to be sold in the common market.

The disease is extremely persistent when it becomes established in an area, presently making it necessary for all citrus orchards to be destroyed at a significant cost in countries such as Australia, Brazil and the United States.

Since 1998, more than 870,000 trees in Florida alone have been destroyed in conjunction with eradication programs.

The University of Florida Extension Service has estimated that if citrus canker became endemic in Florida, the total cost for countering endemic citrus canker, including the use of copper-based sprays, could be more than $300 per acre.

Preservation Sciences is a next-generation environmental research and development company capitalizing on the world-wide demand of eco-friendly products and solutions.

SOURCE: Preservation Sciences via Business Wire.