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Antibiotic use in mandarin production (Citrus reticulata Blanco) in major mandarin-producing areas in Thailand: A survey assessment

posted on 13.11.2019, 18:47 authored by Sunicha Chanvatik, Siriporn Donnua, Angkana Lekagul, Wanwisa Kaewkhankhaeng, Vuthiphan Vongmongkol, Pornpimon Athipunyakom, Saenchai Khamlar, Maitree Prommintara, Viroj Tangcharoensathien


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the major global threats to human security, has serious negative consequences for both health and economies. Excessive and inappropriate uses of antibiotics are the main drivers of the emergence of resistant bacterial strains. In Thailand, antibiotics have been used in citrus production since 2012 to treat citrus greening disease or Huanglongbing disease, despite no antibiotics being registered for use in mandarin. This raises concerns about irrational use of antibiotics, which can cause AMR.


To assess the status of greening disease and the use of antibiotics in mandarin production.


A face-to-face interview survey in 2017 with 221 mandarin growers in two major mandarin-producing areas.


Greening disease is one of the most serious diseases in mandarins and farmers in the two major mandarin-producing areas in Thailand used ampicillin, amoxicillin, tetracycline and penicillin to treat it. As no antibiotics are registered for use in plants, farmers used antibiotics (registered with the Thai Food and Drug Administration) for human use, either active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished products. They commonly purchased them from retail pharmacies or agrochemical suppliers. Farmers were influenced to use antibiotics by their orchard neighbours and advice from a few academics. The farmers injected antibiotics into the tree trunks approximately three to four times a year and stopped for more than two months before harvesting for in-season fruits.


Antibiotics registered for human use are being applied to control greening diseases. We recommend scaling up sustainable disease control measures and curtail the use of antibiotics through close and effective dialogue among ‘One Health’ partners.