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.
‘Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum’ is causing ever increasing economic losses through the decline of apricot trees in European countries, e.g., Hungary. In this study, the pathogen was identified from plant tissues and insects by nested-PCR. The insect species were identified via morphology and molecular methods. The incidence of the pathogen was 29.6% in randomly selected apricot trees. Most of the infected trees with symptoms died within a year. These results show that phytoplasma is significantly present and causes damage in the investigated plantations. The only known insect vector of this phytoplasma is the plum psyllid, Cacopsylla pruni, which was regularly encountered in the sampled apricot orchards and in their surroundings. In a two-year study, several adults among the sampled specimens were observed to be infected by the pathogen. This observation further confirms the role of the plum psyllid in vectoring the phytoplasma. All the sampled plum psyllid adults belonged to the ‘B’ biotype. Besides C. pruni, Cacopsylla crataegi was abundant in the samples. Several adults of the latter species were also infected by the pathogen ‘Ca. Phytoplasma prunorum’. The rates of occurrence of this phytoplasma in male and female adults of the two psyllid species appeared to be similar. The examined C. crataegi individuals showed genetic differences from each other and from specimens included in a previous investigation.