Pentastiridius leporinus is a planthopper (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) that vectors two phloem-restricted bacterial pathogens to sugar beet (Beta vulgaris (L.)): the γ-proteobacterium Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus and the stolbur phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma solani. These bacteria cause an economically important disease known as syndrome basses richesses (SBR), characterized by yellowing, deformed leaves and low beet yields. Having observed potato fields in Germany infested with cixiid planthoppers and showing signs of leaf yellowing, we used morphological criteria and COI and COII as molecular markers, to identify the planthoppers (adults and nymphs) primarily as P. leporinus. We analyzed planthoppers, potato tubers, and sugar beet roots and detected both pathogens in all sample types, confirming that P. leporinus adults and nymphs can transmit the bacteria. This is the first time that P. leporinus has been shown to transmit Arsenophonus to potato plants. We also found that two generations of P. leporinus were produced in the warm summer of 2022, which will probably increase the pest population size (and thus the prevalence of SBR) in 2023. We conclude that P. leporinus has expanded its host range to potato, and can now utilize both host plants during its developmental cycle, a finding that will facilitate the development of more efficient control strategies.
Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, is the most destructive disease of cultivated citrus worldwide. Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the putative causal agent of HLB, is transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae). In Florida, D. citri was first reported in 1998, and CLas was confirmed in 2005. Management of HLB relies on the use of insecticides to reduce vector populations. In 2016, antibiotics were approved to manage CLas infection in citrus. Diaphorina citri is host to several bacterial endosymbionts and reducing endosymbiont abundance is known to cause a corresponding reduction in host fitness. We hypothesized that applications of oxytetracycline and streptomycin would reduce: CLas populations in young and mature citrus trees, CLas acquisition by D. citri, and D. citri abundance. Our results indicate that treatment of citrus with oxytetracycline and streptomycin reduced acquisition of CLas by D. citri adults and emerging F1 nymphs as compared with that observed in trees treated only with insecticides, but not with antibiotics. However, under field conditions, neither antibiotic treatment frequency tested affected CLas infection of young or mature trees as compared with insecticide treatment alone (negative control); whereas trees enveloped with mesh screening that excluded vectors did prevent bacterial infection (positive control). Populations of D. citri were not consistently affected by antibiotic treatment under field conditions, as compared with an insecticide only comparison. Collectively, our results suggest that while foliar application of oxytetracycline and streptomycin to citrus reduces acquisition of CLas bacteria by the vector, even high frequency applications of these formulations under field conditions do not prevent or reduce tree infection.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in southern Texas is well-suited for vegetable production due to its relatively mild/warm weather conditions in the fall and winter. Consequently, insects inflict year-round, persistent damage to crops in the RGV and regions with similar climate. Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), commonly known as the potato psyllid, is a known vector of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (Hyphomicrobiales: Rhizobiaceae), a fastidious phloem-limited bacterium associated to vein-greening in tomatoes and Zebra Chip in potatoes. Vector control is the primary approach of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that aim to prevent plant diseases in commercial agricultural systems. However, resistance-selective pressures that decrease the effectiveness of chemical control (insecticide) applications over time are of increasing concern. Therefore, we explore an ecological approach to devising alternative IPM methodologies to manage the psyllid-transmitted CLso pathogen to supplement existing chemical products and application schedules without increasing resistance. In this study, our objective was to examine the effects of plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on host-vector-pathogen interactions. Soil-drench applications of PGPRs to Solanum lycopersicum (Solanales: Solanaceae) seedlings revealed structural and possible physiological changes to the plant host and indirect changes on psyllid behavior: host plants had increased length and biomass of roots and exhibited delayed colonization by CLso, while psyllids displayed changes in parental (F0) psyllid behavior (orientation and oviposition) in response to treated hosts and in the sex ratio of their progeny (F1). Based on our results, we suggest that PGPR may have practical use in commercial tomato production.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (CaLsol), the etiological agent of potato zebra chip (ZC), is transmitted to potato plants by the psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc, 1909) in North and Central America and New Zealand. The risk of the dispersion of ZC in Spain depends on the presence of an efficient vector. This work studies the presence and abundance of ZC symptoms and CaLsol in potato plants, as well as the presence and abundance of psyllid species associated with potato crops in the main producing areas in Spain. Eighty-eight plots were surveyed punctually to detect ZC symptoms and psyllid species in the main potato-producing areas. Furthermore, fourteen potato plots were surveyed by different sampling methods during the cropping season to detect psyllid species from 2016 to 2018. Very few symptomatic and CaLsol-positive plants were detected in Mainland Spain, and any positive plant was detected in the Canary Islands. Most of the adult psyllids captured were identified as Bactericera nigricornis (Foerster, 1848), and some of them as Bactericera trigonica, but no B. cockerelli was detected. B. nigricornis was found widely distributed in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula; however, this psyllid does not seem sufficient to pose a threat to potato production, due to the scarce number of specimens and because the frequency of B. nigricornis specimens that were CaLsol+ was very low.