University of Florida researchers have created a mathematical model that shows how citrus greening spreads within a tree.

The information could go a long way to help scientists better understand disease dynamics and how they interact with control of the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the disease, according to a news release.

Ariena van Bruggen, the professor who supervised the model’s development, called the model "just the first step."

The model gives scientists hints about what direction research should go in the future.

One of the challenges with the Candidatus liberibacter bacterium responsible for greening is scientists have yet to culture it in the laboratory.

That means they can't conduct experiments that test possible controls against the organism.

Along the same lines, they're not able to monitor bacterial movement throughout the tree.

“This model gives us hints about experiments we can do, where to look, where to focus our efforts to solve the problem,” UF Emerging Pathogens Institute director J. Glenn Morris Jr. said in the release. “Creating a model to see if we can better understand the process of how the disease progresses in just one tree is a unique way to look at the problem.”

Expanding the model to examine disease movement from tree to tree is the next logical step, according to the news re