Zinkicide: Particulate-Based Therapeutic Agent Fights Citrus Plant Diseases

Systemic plant micronutrient-based therapeutic agent kills and prevents Huanglongbing (HLB)Non-phytotoxic—includes a vacancy-engineered (VE)-zinc oxide (ZnO) nanocompositeUltra-small (approximately 4 nm) activated zinc oxide crystals
  • Systemic plant micronutrient-based therapeutic agent kills and prevents Huanglongbing (HLB)
  • Non-phytotoxic includes a vacancy-engineered (VE)-zinc oxide (ZnO) nanocomposite
  • Ultra-small (approximately 4 nm) activated zinc oxide crystals


Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed Zinkicide®, a potent bactericide/fungicide that can effectively treat and prevent diseases in citrus plants and trees such as Huanglongbing (HLB), also called citrus greening. HLB is an invasive citrus disease that is devastating major citrus-producing regions. The disease causes significant crop loss by increasing premature fruit drop and making the fruit smaller and unpalatable.

Zinkicide® offers an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable solution that can improve plant production, fruit quality, and grower profitability. The non-copper alternative for crop protection can be applied with existing pesticide application equipment. It uses specifically-designed nanoparticles to allow for systemic activity from spray or drench applications while avoiding phytotoxicity. The particulates are small enough to be transported through a plant’s phloem system to reach HLB pathogen-infected areas.

Technical Details

The UCF invention comprises compositions and methods of making and applying Zinkicide® which includes a vacancy-engineered (VE) ZnO nanocomposite. Zinkicide® is non-phytotoxic zinc oxide (ZnO)-based nanoformulation. With its high antimicrobial potency, the formula can produce biocidal molecular species in a sustained manner. All Zinkicide ingredients are EPA- and FDA-approved for agricultural applications. For more information, see the following:

Partnering Opportunity

The UCF team is seeking collaborative research and development opportunities with industrial partners.


  • Provides a non-copper alternative against deadly citrus plant diseases, including HLB
  • Readily disperses in water and can move through a plant’s phloem system to combat HLB
  • Film-forming for improved plant surface protection
  • Minimal risk of antimicrobial resistance development compared to commercially available antibiotic formulations
  • Besides HLB, also effective against X. alfalfae (a citrus canker surrogate), E. coli and Staph
  • Stable material (up to 3-year shelf-life expected while maintaining efficacy)



Potential Applications

  • Agricultural biocides