‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) causes disease symptoms and economic losses in potato, tomato, and other solanaceous crops in North America. Lso is transmitted to plants by the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, which occurs as distinct haplotypes named western, central, and northwestern that differ in the presence or absence of the bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia. Previous work showed that all three vector haplotypes can transmit Lso, but it was not clear whether acquisition and transmission rates of Lso were equal among the haplotypes. The goal of our study was to compare Lso infection rates among psyllids of the western, central, and northwestern haplotypes. Using data collected from several years of periodic testing of Lso infection of laboratory-reared potato psyllid colonies, we showed that psyllids of the western and central haplotypes are more likely to harbor Lso than are psyllids of the northwestern haplotype. We then used greenhouse assays to demonstrate that psyllids of the northwestern haplotype are less likely to acquire and transmit Lso than those of the western haplotype. Lso infection rates corresponded with Wolbachia infection among the three psyllid haplotypes. The Wolbachia-infected central and western haplotypes were more likely to harbor and transmit Lso than the Wolbachia-free northwestern haplotype. Results demonstrate that potato psyllids of the western and central haplotypes pose a greater risk for spread of Lso in crops and suggest a pattern between infection with Lso and Wolbachia in potato psyllid.
Stone fruits are a multibillion-dollar industry for the United States and Canada, one that has repeatedly suffered significant economic losses due 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, resulted in an estimated $65 million (USD) loss in revenue between 2015 and 2020 and is only increasing in incidence. Already present across much of the continental United States 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 every state is at significant risk. This recovery plan was produced as part of the National Plant Disease Recovery System 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.
The potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) is a pest of solanaceous crops (order Solanales), including potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and tomato (S. lycopersicum L.). Feeding by high populations of nymphs causes psyllid yellows while adults and nymphs are vectors of the plant pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’. Foliar symptoms that were consistent with either ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection or psyllid yellows were observed in 2019 on tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.; family Solanaceae) grown within an experimental plot located near Saltillo, Mexico. This study had three primary objectives: 9i) determine whether the foliar symptoms observed on tomatillo were associated with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection, (ii) identify the haplotypes of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and potato psyllids present in the symptomatic plot, and (iii) use gut content analysis to infer the plant sources of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-infected psyllids. Results confirmed that 71% of symptomatic plants and 71% of psyllids collected from the plants were infected with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’. The detection of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ in plants and psyllids and the lack of nymphal populations associated with psyllid yellows strongly suggests that the observed foliar symptoms were caused by ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection. All infected plants and insects harbored the more virulent ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ haplotype B but one psyllid was also coinfected with haplotype A. The potato psyllids were predominantly of the central haplotype but one psyllid was identified as the western haplotype. Molecular gut content analysis of psyllids confirmed the movement of psyllids between noncrop habitats and tomatillo and indicated that ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection of psyllids was associated with increased plant diversity in their diet.
Zebra chip (ZC) disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum) is associated with infection by ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso). Two haplotypes of Lso—A and B—occur in the United States. Lso haplotype B is more virulent than haplotype A, causing greater disease incidence in tubers, more severe symptoms, and greater loss in tuber yield. This study assessed whether tubers from infected plants generate new infected plants the following year. The effects of both Lso haplotypes A and B on tuber resprout were examined on five potato cultivars. When compared with noninfected tubers, overall plant emergence rate from Lso A- or B-infected tubers was lower, plants emerged slower, and plants generated lower daughter tuber yields in weight and quantity. Plants generally emerged poorly from Lso B-infected tubers and produced lower daughter tuber yields than Lso A-infected tubers. Regardless of Lso treatment, all daughter tubers were asymptomatic, and only 0.3% tested positive for Lso in experiments conducted over 2 years. This suggests that plants generated from Lso A- and Lso B-infected seed potatoes with severe ZC symptoms are likely not a significant source of Lso in potato fields.