Abstract“Huanglongbing” (HLB) is one of the most devastating diseases of citrus orchards worldwide. Samples from 183 citrus plants of different cultivars and rootstock/cultivar combinations, showing HLB symptoms in three Caribbean countries (Cuba, Jamaica, and Guadeloupe-France), were collected to verify the possible co-infection of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ and ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ species. The 64% of the samples resulted positive to the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ and the 27% to diverse ‘Ca. Phytoplasma’-related species, moreover about the 14% of the samples infected with ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ were also found positive to phytoplasmas, indicating the presence of mixed infection especially in the orchards located in Cuba. Moreover, in one of the samples from Jamaica mixed phytoplasma infection was detected. Moreover the detection of only phytoplasmas in 11 symptomatic citrus samples collected from Cuba and Guadeloupe without ‘Ca. Liberibacter’ detection, confirmed that the symptomatology cannot be the sole criterium to discriminate between the presence of the two pathogens, and molecular detection is necessary to identify single or mixed infections. Diaphorina citri insects collected from Cuba and Guadeloupe resulted infected with ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ confirming its active role in the dissemination of the pathogen. Only one insect of the Cicadidae family, collected in Guadeloupe, was found positive for phytoplasma presence. Considering that the phytoplasmas belonging to some ‘Candidatus species’ were detected in the three countries in different citrus varieties, a relevant role as phytoplasma reservoir can be attribute to citrus orchards.
AbstractCitrus Greening disease (CG) in South Africa (SA) is associated with the fastidious bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter africanus’ (Laf). It has been observed that Laf isolates obtained from different geographic localities in SA differed in the rate of transmission during grafting experiments leading to the hypothesis that genetic variation of Laf may exist in this country. To determine this, 167 Laf isolates obtained from Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape were subjected to microsatellite analyses, using four polymorphic markers. From UPGMA and STRUCTURE analysis, it was shown that most sources belong to one of two major genetic groups of Laf and these comprise 25 distinct haplotypes. Four samples included within this study did not group with these two major groups, suggesting a potential third and fourth genetic group of Laf being present, which can be validated by further sampling. Results further indicate that Laf populations in SA are formed by geographic locality. The high genetic diversity observed for Laf within this study is consistent with the hypothesis that Laf originated on the African continent, warranting further genetic analysis of Laf populations from Africa. This is the first study to unveil the genetic diversity of Laf.