In Brazil, citrus huanglongbing (HLB) is associated with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter americanus’ (CLam) and ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas). However, there are few studies about HLB epidemiology when both Liberibacter spp. and its insect vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP, Diaphorina citri), are present. The objective of this work was to compare the transmission of HLB by ACP when both CLam and CLas are present as primary inoculum. Two experiments were performed under screenhouse conditions from April 2008 to January 2012 (experiment 1) and from February 2011 to December 2015 (experiment 2). The experiments were carried out with sweet orange plants infected with CLam or CLas as inoculum source surrounded by sweet orange healthy plants. One hundred Liberibacter-free adult psyllids were monthly confined to the source of inoculum plants for 7 days with subsequent free movement inside the screenhouse. Fortnightly, nymphs and adults of psyllids were monitored. Psyllid and leaf samples were collected periodically for Liberibacter detection by PCR or quantitative PCR. CLas was detected more frequently than CLam in both psyllid and leaf samples. No mixed infections were detected in the psyllids. A clear prevalence of CLas over CLam was observed in both experiments. The final HLB incidences were 16.7 and 14.5% of Liberibacter-positive test plants, and CLas was detected in 92.3 and 93.1% of these infected plants. Mixed infection was observed only in 3.8% of infected test plants in experiment 1. These results endorse the shift in the prevalence of CLam to CLas observed in citrus orchards of São Paulo, Brazil.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a citrus disease of worldwide importance, associated with the presence of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) and vectored by the psyllid Diaphorina citri in Asia and the Americas. To properly manage HLB, removal of inoculum sources and control of the psyllid are undertaken. We evaluated the percentage of the psyllid population with Las, sampled from yellow sticky traps over a three-year period and its relationship with insect population, regions, season of the year, and HLB management in citrus areas in the southwestern, central, and northern regions of São Paulo (SP) and southwestern region of Minas Gerais states, Brazil. In each reading, up to 50 psyllids per region were collected and detection of Las in individual psyllids were made by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The percentage of psyllids with Las—an average of 65.3%—was constant throughout the year in the southwestern region of SP state, while showing an increase from spring to autumn when sampled from central to northern regions. The proportion of psyllids carrying Las from each region and year period were compared by a proportion test and spectral density analysis. The proportion of psyllids carrying Las evaluated in the same region in different seasons presented statistical differences in central (Araraquara) and southwestern (Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo) regions in 2015, with higher values in the first semester (summer and autumn) than in the second semester (winter and spring). Orchards with poor HLB management had higher incidence of psyllids with Las. Spectral density analysis indicated that good management areas had 50% less relevant peaks of psyllids with Las than in areas with poor HLB management practices. The relationship between the percentage of psyllids carrying Las and the number of captured psyllids in the region in a given time denotes the most critical intake time for HLB spread in citrus orchards. The reduction in the population of psyllids carrying Las is a direct benefit from the use of good management practices.