Hemp Abnormal Growth Is Attributed to Mono-, Di-, or Tri-Infections of Spiroplasma citri, ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii’, and Beet Curly Top Virus

Schoener, Wang (2023). PhytoFrontiers™ 3 (4)
Names (1)
Ca. Phytoplasma trifolii
Earth-Surface Processes General Medicine
As hemp ( Cannabis sativa) emerges as a commercial crop in Nevada, mild to severe abnormal growth has been observed from many plants in commercial fields throughout the growing season. Affected plants exhibited a group of symptoms typically including stunting, leaf yellowing, excessive apical branching, clusters of witches’ broom, leaf rolling upwards, and leaf mottling and mosaic. These symptoms mostly showed up together in a plant or a crop and are defined here as abnormal growth syndrome (AGS). Between 2017 and 2019, the Nevada State Plant Pathology and Molecular Diagnostic Lab received 67 symptomatic hemp samples from Nevada for diagnosis, and ‘ Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii’ was detected in 14 samples (21%). To investigate additional biotic agents associated with AGS, PCR products generated by primers P1/P7 were cloned into a pGEM-T vector and sequenced, and Spiroplasma citri DNA was found in two samples (3%). All 67 DNA samples were further tested for beet curly top virus (BCTV), and 57 samples (85%) were found to be infected by BCTV. Twelve samples (18%) were coinfected by both ‘ Ca. Phytoplasma trifolii’ and BCTV, and two (3%) were coinfected by S. citri, ‘ Ca. Phytoplasma trifolii’, and BCTV. The findings suggest that BCTV is the most prevalent pathogen causing the hemp abnormal growth in Nevada, but ‘ Ca. Phytoplasma trifolii’ and S. citri may also contribute to the severity and complexity of symptoms. Thus, hemp abnormal growth can be attributed to single, dual, or triple infections of these three leafhopper-vectored mollicutes and virus. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .
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