First Report of the Association of the Psyllid Vector Bactericera trigonica (Hemiptera: Triozidae) with ‘Candidatus Liberibacter Solanacearum’ in Italy

Bertinelli et al. (2024). Insects 15 (2)
Names (2)
Liberibacter “Liberibacter solanacearum”
Insect Science
Psyllids, members of the family Triozidae, represent a potential threat to the cultivation of solanaceous and apiaceous crops worldwide, mainly as vectors of the phloem-restricted bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso). The Lso haplotypes C, D and E are known to affect apiaceous crops, such as carrot and celery, in several European countries. In Italy, data on the incidence and natural spread of both Lso and psyllids have not been reported so far. In this study, the presence of the vectors was investigated in a main Italian district for carrot production, the “Altopiano del Fucino” area (Central Italy). Both occasional and regular surveys were carried out on a total of five carrot fields and one potato field in 2021 and 2022. Bactericera trigonica (Hodkinson), which is known to efficiently transmit Lso to carrots, was found to be well-established in the area. High levels of population density were recorded in the summer period (more than 100 adult specimens per trap caught every two weeks) and then sharply decreased after the carrot harvest, confirming the strict association of this psyllid species with crop availability. In 2022, 27.5% of the total tested psyllid samples resulted in being positive for Lso haplotypes D and E, the latter being prevalent. This survey revealed, for the first time in Italy, the presence of B. trigonica adults associated with Lso in carrot crops. Although this study was limited to a few fields located in one area, it provided important evidence of the risks for Lso outbreaks and prompted further research to assess the spread and incidence of the disease in apiaceous cultivations in Italy.
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