Simulation and Evaluation of Heat Transfer Inside a Diseased Citrus Tree during Heat Treatment
Agriculture Systems and Natural Resources, University of Missouri-Extension, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Immokalee, FL 34142, USA
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
AgriEngineering 2021, 3(1), 19-28; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering3010002
Received: 4 December 2020 / Revised: 6 January 2021 / Accepted: 8 January 2021 / Published: 13 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evaluation of New Technological Solutions in Agriculture)
Heat treatment has been applied in previous studies to treat diseased plants and trees affected by heat-sensitive pathogens. Huanglongbing (HLB) is a heat-sensitive pathogen and the optimal temperature–time for treating HLB-affected citrus trees was estimated to be 54 °C for 60 to 120 s from indoor experimental studies. However, utilizing this method in orchards is difficult due to technical difficulties to effectively apply heat. Recently, a mobile thermotherapy system (MTS) was developed to in-field treat HLB-affected trees. This mobile device includes a canopy cover that covers the diseased tree and a system to supply steam under the cover to treat the tree. It was proven that the temperature inside the canopy cover can reach the desired one (i.e., 54 °C) to kill bacteria. However, for HLB, the heat should penetrate the tree’s phloem where the bacteria live. Therefore, measuring the heat penetration inside the tree is very critical to evaluate the performance of the MTS. In this study, a heat transfer model was developed to simulate the heat penetration inside the tree and predict the temperature in the phloem of the diseased tree during the in-field heat treatment. The simulation results were compared with in-field experimental measurements. The heat transfer model was developed by a comparative analysis of the experimental data using the ANSYS software. Results showed that the temperature in the phloem was 10–40% lower than the temperature near the surface of the bark. Simulation results were consistent with experimental results, with an average relative error of less than 5%.