In Europe and the Mediterranean region, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) is associated with emerging diseases of Apiaceae crops, mainly carrot. Emergency measures for import of carrot seed were set, requiring seed to be heat-treated at 50°C or tested as Lso-negative by PCR. The germination response to heat treatment was assessed for 24 carrot cultivar and hybrid seed lots. Ten parsley, five fennel, and two celery seed lots were also analysed. Of these 41 seed lots, 21 were Lso-infected. Water heat treatment significantly decreased germinability compared to dry heat treatment, indicating that dry heat treatment is a cheaper and less detrimental procedure. However, the dry heat treatment significantly decreased seed germination compared to untreated controls in four of 24 seed lots of carrot, four of ten parsley seed lots, three of five fennel seed lots, and one of two celery seed lots. For parsley, the heat treatment reduced germinability to a lesser extent in Lso-infected than Lso-free seed lots. These data show that heat treatment can affect the germination of Apiaceae seeds to varying degrees, depending on species or variety, the type of heat treatment, and the sanitary status of the seeds.
Pumpkin plants showing symptoms of witches’ broom (PuWB) were observed in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, China, in September 2018. A phytoplasma was detected in symptomatic plants by PCR amplifying portions of the 16S ribosomal and tuf genes. In addition, the phylogeny based on these genes sequencing indicated that the PuWB strain clusters with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ (subgroup 16SrXII-A). Furthermore, based on in silico and in vitro restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses, the PuWB phytoplasma was confirmed as a ‘Ca. P. solani’-related strain. This was the first record of the occurrence of phytoplasma presence in pumpkins in China, and the first record of 16SrXII phytoplasma infecting pumpkins in the world.