‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ is a pathogen of solanaceous crops (Solanales: Solanaceae) that causes zebra chip disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and plant dieback in tomato (S. lycopersicum L.) and pepper (Capsicum spp.). This pathogen is vectored by the potato/ tomato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), but little is known about the interactions between B. cockerelli and ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum.’ Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to assess the incidence of ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum’ in the hemolymph, bacteriomes, alimentary canals, and salivary glands of B. cockerelli. Liberibacter was observed in 66% of alimentary canals, 39% of salivary glands, and 40% of bacteriomes dissected from adult psyllids. Compared with adults, the organs of fifth instars appeared less likely to harbor Liberibacter, which was observed in 52% of alimentary canals, 10% of salivary glands, and 6% of bacteriomes dissected from the nymphs. Results of real-time polymerase chain reaction confirmed that fewer fifth instars were infected with Liberibacter compared with adults and indicated that fifth instars were less likely to transmit the pathogen to noninfected host plants. These observations of the localization of ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum’ in the organs and tissues of B. cockerelli adults and nymphs will aid the study of Liberibacter-psyllid interactions and the epidemiology of ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum.’
Temperature has been shown to have a significant effect on development of liberibacter species associated with citrus Huanglongbing disease. ‘Candidatus Liberibacter africanus’ and ‘Ca. L. americanus’ are both heat sensitive, whereas ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ is heat tolerant. The recently described ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ is associated with zebra chip (ZC), a newly emerging and economically important disease of potato worldwide. This psyllid-transmitted liberibacter species severely affects several other solanaceous crops and carrot. Experiments were conducted to evaluate effects of temperature on development of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and ZC disease. Potato plants were inoculated with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ by briefly exposing them to liberibacter-infective potato psyllids at various temperatures under laboratory conditions. Following insect exposure, the plants were maintained at selected temperature regimes in growth chambers, monitored for ZC symptom development, and later tested for liberibacter by polymerase chain reaction to confirm infection. Results indicated that temperatures below 17°C appear to slow development of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and ZC symptoms, whereas temperatures above 32°C are detrimental to this liberibacter. Compared to Huanglongbing liberibacters, ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ appears heat sensitive. The sensitivity of this bacterium and its insect vector to temperature may partially explain incidence, severity, and distribution of ZC in affected regions.