The potato/tomato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) transmits ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) (also known as ‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’), the bacterium associated with zebra chip disease (ZC) in potato. When disease incidence is high, ZC causes large economic losses through reductions in potato yield and tuber quality. No commercial potato variety has been found totally resistant to the pathogen. We evaluated host acceptance behaviors using no-choice assays on three breeding clones derived from Solanum chacoense Bitter with putative tolerance to Lso and/or ZC as part of an effort to determine whether the disease tolerance observed in those breeding clones was related to effects on psyllid settling behavior. We also counted the number of eggs laid and nymphs hatched on the different genotypes to observe any differences in reproduction. The potato variety ‘Russet Burbank’ was used as a susceptible control. Probing frequency and female walking duration were greater on Russet Burbank than the other genotypes. Oviposition did not differ among genotypes. However, female psyllids on two of the Lso-tolerant genotypes displayed reduced fertility 18–24 d after confinement with a male, relative to females on Russet Burbank. These results suggest that although the germplasms display minor abiotic activity on psyllid fertility, tolerance to Lso may be more strongly linked with plant tolerance to the pathogen rather than effects on host acceptance behaviors.
Zebra chip (ZC) disease of potato is associated with the putative pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, which is transmitted by the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Hem., Triozidae). The present study was initiated to investigate ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ development during and following typical commercial storage practices. Using bacteriliferous psyllids, Russet Norkotah potato tubers were infested in field cages 14, 10, and 4 days before harvest. Changes in ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ detection rate, ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer, and concentrations of phenolic compounds were documented throughout storage. ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer continued to increase during storage. Although significant increases in the frequency of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ detection were observed in all infestation treatments, the impact of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection on tuber quality remained comparatively low in plants infected 4 days before harvest, because the majority of the tubers remained asymptomatic. Minimizing storage and retail chain movement durations would help to limit ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ impact on tuber quality in tubers infected 14 and 10 days before harvest. This study also demonstrated that ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ can relocate from a newly infected leaf to a tuber in as little as 4 days. Psyllid management is recommended until at least 4 days before green harvest, when psyllid pressure is high in fields in which tubers are destined for commercial storage.
Zebra chip (ZC) is a disease of potato, putatively caused by the vectorborne bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’. Although ZC has been a major concern due its significant negative impact on both potato yield and quality, its effect on seed potato sprouting has been the subject of recent evaluations. The present study was conducted to determine whether variation in emergence is affected by the infection duration of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-infected seed potato prior to harvest. Furthermore, changes in pathogen detectability and titer levels in late-season-infected plants also were evaluated during and after cold storage. The rate of ZC-affected seed potato emergence following cold storage was not affected by the time of infection in the field, and the majority of ZC-infected tubers failed to sprout. Time to “seedling” emergence also was significantly longer in seed potato from plants infected ≥2 weeks before harvest. The small percentage of plants that emerged from ZC-affected seed potato produced stunted, nonvigorous plants that often died after a few weeks. The rate of successful ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ detection increased during cold storage, suggesting a continued ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’–tuber interaction postharvest. After tubers were removed from cold storage and held at room temperature, ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ titer started to increase. Although none of the tubers from plants infected 1 week before harvest exhibited any disease symptoms or tested positive for ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ at harvest, up to 38% of these tubers tested positive following placement at room temperature after cold storage. Results of this study suggest that the role of seedborne ZC in disease epidemiology is likely to be insignificant. Furthermore, the findings of this study emphasized the importance of continued control measures until at least a week before harvest, and highlighted the need for improved methods of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ detection at harvest, especially in tubers infected late in the season.