Feb. 18, 2015 | By Alec

Those of you living in tropical and subtropical areas of the world might have noticed: the citrus greening disease is rampant again. This disease, that is caused by bacteria carried by insects, can absolutely destroy a fruit farmer’s business. Fortunately, 3D printing technology is on the case. Scientists from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have developed 3D printed traps that can catch the Asian citrus psyllid insect responsible.

The disease is the stuff of nightmares for most fruit farms. The responsible bacteria bacteria attack the trees bearing oranges, mandarins, lemons and other fruits , and utterly destroys the harvest as affected trees produce green, bitter-tasting and strangely shaped fruits. But worse than that, it ultimately kills the entire plant. As there’s no cure for the disease, an outbreak can completely disrupt the citrus industry, which is worth $10.7 billion in Florida alone. The USDA estimated that harvest records from Florida will be the lowest in years, approximately 60% lower than the peak year of 1997-1998.

And that’s where these smart traps come in. Using a $200,000 five year of grant National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, Florid scientists will deploy and test a series of traps specifically designed to just catch the psyllid insect carrying the disease. They will, reportedly, also be used to protect farmers in Texas and California.

And most impressively, 3D printing technology is proving to be an absolutely perfect manufacturing technology for the small traps. ‘This technology is a gigantic leap forward,’ says Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. "This 3D printing innovation gives our scientists the best chance to find a game-changing breakthrough in the fight against citrus greening." 3D printers will, in a nutshell, be used to produce, and if necessary adjust, the size, color, light and chemical deposits that are being used to capture the bug.

Now you might wonder why they are going through so much trouble to catch the insects, but that’s because previous attempts with sticky traps were too effective. They captures just about every bug in a citrus grove, including the ones with positive functions. It also made it virtually impossible to study the captured insects. These new 3D printed smart traps should, in contrast, only catch psyllids and keep them alive, allowing scientists to further study them in the hopes of developing a chemical cure for citrus greening disease.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


Heike Roberts wrote at 2/18/2015 9:24:42 PM:

Hi Is the file going to be made downloadable? Open source? Cheers

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive