First Report of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’ in North America and in a New Host, Globe Sedge (Cyperus globulosus)

Di Lella et al. (2022). Plant Health Progress
Names (1)
Ca. Phytoplasma brasiliense
Horticulture Plant Science
A survey of weeds was undertaken in a palm nursery affected by lethal bronzing (LB) to identify a reservoir host of the causal phytoplasma. Three common species were identified; Urochloa maxima (Guineagrass), Sporobolus indicus (smut grass), and Cyperus esculentus (yellow nutsedge) and sampled over a period of 2 years. Each species was sampled 36 times and all three species were negative for the LB phytoplasma. However, three specimens of C. esculentus tested positive for the phytoplasma species ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’. These findings represent the first documented case of ‘Ca. P. brasiliense’ in North America, specifically in Florida, U.S.A., as well as a new host record for the phytoplasma and the first monocot host documented. Because of the impact this phytoplasma has on papaya and hibiscus in South America, it presents a unique threat to ornamental and agricultural sectors in south Florida. An area-wide survey for the phytoplasma and potential vectors is recommended.
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