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Metabolite changes in the tree can help us detect Huanglongbing
Metabolism is all of the processes an organism carries out in order to stay alive. There are two types of molecules involved in an organism’s metabolism: proteins and small molecular weight chemicals called metabolites. These molecules change in abundance when the metabolism of a living organism, such as a human, insect, or tree, is altered. Measuring these molecules provides a ‘snapshot’ of an organism’s metabolism. During infection, an organism’s metabolism is busy responding to the pathogen, as it works to protect itself. Thus, the ‘metabolite profile’ is different for healthy versus infected organisms. Carolyn Slupsky is developing methods to measure metabolite profiles of citrus trees, and to identify one that indicates early CLas (the bacteria that causes HLB) infection.
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources