AbstractHuanglongbing (HLB), or Citrus Greening, is one of the most devastating diseases affecting agriculture today. Widespread throughout Citrus growing regions of the world, it has had severe economic consequences in all areas it has invaded. With no treatment available, management strategies focus on suppression and containment. Effective use of these costly control strategies relies on rapid and accurate identification of infected plants. Unfortunately, symptoms of the disease are slow to develop and indistinct from symptoms of other biotic/abiotic stressors. As a result, diagnosticians have focused on detecting the pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, by DNA-based detection strategies utilizing leaf midribs for sampling. Recent work has shown that fibrous root decline occurs in HLB-affected trees before symptom development among leaves. Moreover, the pathogen, Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus, has been shown to be more evenly distributed within roots than within the canopy. Motivated by these observations, a longitudinal study of young asymptomatic trees was established to observe the spread of disease through time and test the relative effectiveness of leaf- and root-based detection strategies. Detection of the pathogen occurred earlier, more consistently, and more often in root samples than in leaf samples. Moreover, little influence of geography or host variety was found on the probability of detection.
Previous studies have shown that the fastidious bacterial plant pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (CLso) is transmitted circulatively and propagatively by the potato psyllid (PoP) Bactericera cockerelli. In this study, the temporal and spatial interrelationships between CLso PoP were investigated by scanning electron microscopy of the digestive system of PoP immature and adult instars and salivary glands of adults post CLso ingestion. CLso biofilms were not detectable on the outer midgut surface of the first and second instars; however, for third to fifth instars and teneral and mature adults, biofilms were observed in increasing numbers in each successive developmental stage. In adult PoP midguts, CLso cells were observed between the basal lamina and basal epithelial cell membranes; in basal laminar perforations, on the outer basal laminar surface, and in the ventricular lumen, epithelial cytosol, and filter chamber periventricular space. CLso were also abundantly visible in the salivary gland pericellular spaces and in the epidermal cell cytosol of the head. Collectively, these results point to an intrusive, systemic invasion of PoP by CLso that employs an endo/exocytosis-like mechanism, in the context of a propagative, circulative mode of transmission.