AbstractRecent outbreaks of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ resulted in severe losses in potatoes, vegetable crops and grapevines in certain regions of Austria and constituted a major challenge for seed potato production. Therefore, the effects of various insecticides and insect deterrents on pathogen spread were studied both in laboratory and field experiments from 2018 to 2021. In laboratory transmission experiments, field captured Hyalesthes obsoletus were caged on differently treated Catharanthus roseus for five days. The insecticides lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin, esfenvalerate, acetamiprid and chlorpyriphos showed the most rapid impact on insect survival and fully prevented phytoplasma transmission. The particle film forming products kaolin and diatomaceous earth had some effect. A transfer of the promising laboratory results to potato fields, however, was achieved to a limited extent only. Treatments with pyrethroids and acetamiprid every 8–10 days over the flight period of H. obsoletus roughly halved the number of symptomatic plants and tubers in case of moderately susceptible varieties and moderate infection pressure. In the event of susceptible varieties and high disease pressure, treatment effects were hardy discernible. In practical terms, the experiments indicate that insecticide applications alone are not sufficient to mitigate the disease. Spraying of diatomaceous earth and mineral oil did not affect disease incidence in the field.
AbstractPear decline, induced by the phytoplasma 'Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri', transmitted by pear psyllids, is one of the most devastating diseases on Pyrus communis in Europe and North America. Investigations of pear psyllids in 4 pear orchards in lower Austria showed the presence of Cacopsylla pyri, C. pyricola and C. pyrisuga at all locations. PCR analyses revealed overall phytoplasma infection rates for C. pyri of 5.4%, for C. pyricola, of 4.6%, for C. pyrisuga remigrants of 9.6% and for C. pyrisuga emigrants of 0%. The rates of PCR-positive C. pyri and C. pyricola individuals varied greatly in the course of the year, and the highest infection rates were observed in late summer, autumn and in late winter. In transmission experiments with healthy pear seedlings, winterform individuals of C. pyri and C. pyricola transmitted the pathogen to 19.2% (5 out of 26) and 4.8% (2 out of 41) of the test plants, respectively. The vectoring ability of C. pyrisuga was experimentally proven for the first time, and in transmission experiments with remigrants, 9.5% (2 out of 21) of the pear seedlings were infected. Our data indicate a significant risk of pathogen transmission in pear orchards during the greater part of the year, especially in late winter, early spring and autumn. Multilocus sequence analysis by aid of the genes aceF and imp allowed the discrimination between 15 phytoplasma types. Three so far undescribed aceF genotypes and four undescribed imp genotypes were identified.