A new symptomatology was observed in celery (Apium graveolens) in Villena, Spain in 2008. Symptomatology included an abnormal amount of shoots per plant and curled stems. These vegetative disorders were associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ and not with phytoplasmas. Samples from plant sap were immobilized on membranes based on the spot procedure and tested using a newly developed real-time polymerase chain reaction assay to detect ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’. Then, a test kit was developed and validated by intralaboratory assays with an accuracy of 100%. Bacterial-like cells with typical morphology of ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ were observed using electron microscopy in celery plant tissues. A fifth haplotype of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’, named E, was identified in celery and in carrot after analyzing partial sequences of 16S and 50S ribosomal RNA genes. From our results, celery (family Apiaceae) can be listed as a new natural host of this emerging bacterium.
Symptoms of abnormal proliferation of shoots resulting in formation of witches’-broom growths were observed on diseased plants of passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa Deg.) in Brazil. RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences amplified in PCRs containing template DNAs extracted from diseased plants collected in Bonito (Pernambuco) and Viçosa (Minas Gerais) Brazil, indicated that such symptoms were associated with infections by two mutually distinct phytoplasmas. One phytoplasma, PassWB-Br4 from Bonito, represents a new subgroup, 16SrIII-V, in the X-disease phytoplasma group (‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pruni’-related strains). The second phytoplasma, PassWB-Br3 from Viçosa, represents a previously undescribed subgroup in group 16SrVI. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences were consistent with the hypothesis that strain PassWB-Br3 is distinct from previously described ‘Ca.
’ species. Nucleotide sequence alignments revealed that strain PassWB-Br3 shared less than 97.5 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with previously described ‘Ca.
’ species. The unique properties of its DNA, in addition to natural host and geographical occurrence, support the recognition of strain PassWB-Br3 as a representative of a novel taxon, ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma sudamericanum’.