Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) is one of the putative causal agents of huanglongbing, which is a serious disease in citrus production. The pathogen is transmitted by Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). As an observational study, six groves in central Florida and one grove at the southern tip of Florida were sampled monthly from January 2008 through February 2012 (50 months). The collected psyllids were sorted by sex and abdominal color. Disease prevalence in adults peaked in November, with a minor peak in February. Gray/brown females had the highest prevalence, and blue/green individuals of either sex had the lowest prevalence. CLas prevalence in blue/green females was highly correlated with the prevalence in other sexes and colors. Thus, the underlying causes for seasonal fluctuations in prevalence operated in a similar fashion for all psyllids. The pattern was caused by larger nymphs displacing smaller ones from the optimal feeding sites and immunological robustness in different sex–color morphotypes. Alternative hypotheses were also considered. Improving our understanding of biological interactions and how to sample them will improve management decisions. We agree with other authors that psyllid management is critical year-round.
Hishimonus hamatus Kuoh is a leafhopper species native to China that feeds on Chinese jujube leaves. This leafhopper species has been verified to transmit jujube witches’ broom (JWB) disease, caused by phytoplasma, a fatal plant pathogen, which belongs to the phytoplasma subgroup 16SrV-B. The transmission of JWB phytoplasma largely relies on the feeding behavior of piercing–sucking leafhoppers. However, the specific mechanisms behind how and why the infection of JWB influences the feeding behavior of these leafhoppers are not fully understood. To address this, a study was conducted to compare the feeding patterns of H. hamatus when feeding JWB-infested jujube leaves to healthy leaves using the electrical penetration graph (EPG) technique. Then, a widely targeted metabolome analysis was performed to identify differences in the metabolite composition of JWB-infected jujube leaves and that of healthy jujube leaves. The results of EPG analyses revealed that when feeding on JWB-infected jujube leaves, H. hamatus exhibited an increased frequency of phloem ingestion and spent longer in the phloem feeding phase compared to when feeding on healthy leaves. In addition, the results of metabolomic analyses showed that JWB-infected leaves accumulated higher levels of small-molecular carbohydrates, free amino acids, and free fatty acids, as well as lower levels of lignans, coumarins and triterpenoids compared to healthy leaves. The above results indicated that the H. hamatus preferentially fed on the phloem of infected leaves, which seems to be linked to the transmission of the JWB phytoplasma. The results of metabolomic analyses partially imply that the chemical compounds might play a role in making the infected leaves more attractive to H. hamatus for feeding.
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.
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.