Stone fruits are a multi-billion-dollar industry for the U.S. and Canada, one that has repeatedly suffered significant economic losses to outbreaks of the X-disease phytoplasma (Candidatus Phytoplasma pruni) over the last century. Orchards and entire production areas have been abandoned, with corresponding losses to growers, fruit packers, and consumers. The most recent outbreak, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, caused an estimated $65 million (USD) in lost revenue between 2015 and 2020 and is only increasing in incidence. Already present across much of the continental U.S. and Canada, the phytoplasma has a broad host range beyond stone fruit and is transmitted by at least eight leafhopper species therefore stone fruit production in any state is at significant risk. This recovery plan was produced as part of the National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS) and is intended to provide a review of pathogen biology, assess the status of critical recovery components, and identify disease management research, extension, and education needs.
Illumina sequencing of a
tree with X-disease symptoms was performed to obtain a draft genome of “
Phytoplasma pruni.” The genome consists of 14 contigs covering 588,767 bp. This is the first metagenome to be sequenced from the current X-disease epidemic in stone fruit in the Pacific Northwest.