Huanglongbing (HLB), the most destructive citrus disease, is associated with unculturable, phloem-limited Candidatus Liberibacter species, mainly Ca. L. asiaticus (Las). Las is transmitted naturally by the insect Diaphorina citri. In a previous study, we determined that the Oceanian citrus relatives Eremocitrus glauca, Microcitrus warburgiana, Microcitrus papuana, and Microcitrus australis and three hybrids among them and Citrus were full-resistant to Las. After 2 years of evaluations, leaves of those seven genotypes remained Las-free even with their susceptible rootstock being infected. However, Las was detected in their stem bark above the scion-rootstock graft union. Aiming to gain an understanding of the full-resistance phenotype, new experiments were carried out with the challenge-inoculated Oceanian citrus genotypes through which we evaluated: (1) Las acquisition by D. citri fed onto them; (2) Las infection in sweet orange plants grafted with bark or budwood from them; (3) Las infection in sweet orange plants top-grafted onto them; (4) Las infection in new shoots from rooted plants of them; and (5) Las infection in new shoots of them after drastic back-pruning. Overall, results showed that insects that fed on plants from the Oceanian citrus genotypes, their canopies, new flushes, and leaves from rooted cuttings evaluated remained quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-negative. Moreover, their budwood pieces were unable to infect sweet orange through grafting. Furthermore, sweet orange control leaves resulted infected when insects fed onto them and graft-receptor susceptible plants. Genomic and morphological analysis of the Oceanian genotypes corroborated that E. glauca and M. warburgiana are pure species while our M. australis accession is an M. australis × M. inodora hybrid and M. papuana is probably a M. papuana × M. warburgiana hybrid. E. glauca × C. sinensis hybrid was found coming from a cross between E. glauca and mandarin or tangor. Eremocitrus × Microcitrus hybrid is a complex admixture of M. australasica, M. australis, and E. glauca while the last hybrid is an M. australasica × M. australis admixture. Confirmation of consistent full resistance in these genotypes with proper validation of their genomic parentages is essential to map properly genomic regions for breeding programs aimed to generate new Citrus-like cultivars yielding immunity to HLB.
A survey of weeds was undertaken in a palm nursery affected by lethal bronzing (LB) to identify a reservoir host of the causal phytoplasma. Three common species were identified; Urochloa maxima (Guineagrass), Sporobolus indicus (smut grass), and Cyperus esculentus (yellow nutsedge) and sampled over a period of 2 years. Each species was sampled 36 times and all three species were negative for the LB phytoplasma. However, three specimens of C. esculentus tested positive for the phytoplasma species ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’. These findings represent the first documented case of ‘Ca. P. brasiliense’ in North America, specifically in Florida, U.S.A., as well as a new host record for the phytoplasma and the first monocot host documented. Because of the impact this phytoplasma has on papaya and hibiscus in South America, it presents a unique threat to ornamental and agricultural sectors in south Florida. An area-wide survey for the phytoplasma and potential vectors is recommended.
‘Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii’ is a cell wall-less phytopathogenic bacterium that infects many agriculturally important plant species such as alfalfa, clover, eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato. The phytoplasma is responsible for repeated outbreaks of potato purple top (PPT) and potato witches’ broom (PWB) that occurred along the Pacific Coast of the United States since 2002, inflicting significant economic losses. To effectively manage these phytoplasmal diseases, it is important to develop diagnostic tools for specific, sensitive, and rapid detection of the pathogens. Here we report the development of a DNA endonuclease targeted CRISPR trans reporter (DETECTR) assay that couples isothermal amplification and Cas12a transcleavage of fluorescent oligonucleotide reporter for highly sensitive and specific detection of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii’-related strains responsible for PPT and PWB. The DETECTR assay was capable of specifically detecting the 16S-23S ribosomal DNA intergenic transcribed spacer sequences from PPT- and PWB-diseased samples at the attomolar sensitivity level. Furthermore, the DETECTR strategy allows flexibility to capture assay outputs with fluorescent microplate readers or lateral flow assays for potentially high-throughput and/or field-deployable disease diagnostics.
Bois noir, an economically important disease of grapevine yellows that causes significant economic losses in wine production, is associated with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ and transmitted to grapevines by cixiids Hyalesthes obsoletus and Reptalus panzeri. Polyphagous planthopper Dictyophara europaea, commonly found in natural habitats, harbors phytoplasmas from distinct groups and is an alternative vector in the open epidemiological cycles of the Flavescence dorée phytoplasma in grapevine in European vineyards. This study addresses the role of D. europaea in the transmission cycle(s) of ‘Ca. P. solani’ among wild habitats, natural reservoir plants, and the vineyard agroecosystem using MLSA and transmission trials with naturally infected adults to grapevine and Catharanthus roseus. The infection rates of D. europaea ranged from 7% to 13% in diverse locations, while reservoir herbaceous plants were infected in the amount of 29%. A total of 13 CaPsol MLSA genotypes were detected in D. europaea (7) and plants (8). Nine of them corresponded to previously identified genotypes. Two new genotypes were found in D. europaea (tuf-b1/S1/V14/Rqg50-sv1 and tuf-b1/S18/V14/Rqg50-sv1) and one in Convolvulus arvensis (tuf-b1/S1/V2-TA/Rqg31-sv1), whereas one was shared by two hosts, Crepis foetida and Daucus carota (tuf-b1/S1/V2-TA/STOL-sv1). Naturally infected D. europaea successfully transmitted the tuf-b1/S1/V2-TA/STOL type to five grapevines and six periwinkles, tuf-b1/S1/V2-TA/Rqg31 to one grapevine, and tuf-b1/S1/V2-TA/Rqg50 to one periwinkle, indicating that D. europaea is an intermediate vector in CaPsol epidemiological cycles.