Changes in physiological and biochemical patterns in lucerne plants caused by the presence of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma australasia’, which is one of the significant pathogens causing yield losses in lucerne plants, were investigated. Significant differences were evident in total chlorophyll, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and protein amounts between ‘Ca. Phytoplasma australasia’-positive and negative lucerne plants. Stress-related metabolites such as phenol, malondialdehyde, and proline accumulations in ‘Ca. Phytoplasma australasia’-positive plants were remarkably higher than those of phytoplasma-negative plants. As a response to disease attack, phytoplasma-positive plants exhibited higher antioxidant enzymes (peroxidase and catalase) and non-enzymatic metabolite responses such as jasmonic and salicylic acids. We state that partial disease responses were revealed for the first time to breed resistant lucerne lines infected by ‘Ca. Phytoplasma australasia’.
AbstractPear decline, induced by the phytoplasma 'Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri', transmitted by pear psyllids, is one of the most devastating diseases on Pyrus communis in Europe and North America. Investigations of pear psyllids in 4 pear orchards in lower Austria showed the presence of Cacopsylla pyri, C. pyricola and C. pyrisuga at all locations. PCR analyses revealed overall phytoplasma infection rates for C. pyri of 5.4%, for C. pyricola, of 4.6%, for C. pyrisuga remigrants of 9.6% and for C. pyrisuga emigrants of 0%. The rates of PCR-positive C. pyri and C. pyricola individuals varied greatly in the course of the year, and the highest infection rates were observed in late summer, autumn and in late winter. In transmission experiments with healthy pear seedlings, winterform individuals of C. pyri and C. pyricola transmitted the pathogen to 19.2% (5 out of 26) and 4.8% (2 out of 41) of the test plants, respectively. The vectoring ability of C. pyrisuga was experimentally proven for the first time, and in transmission experiments with remigrants, 9.5% (2 out of 21) of the pear seedlings were infected. Our data indicate a significant risk of pathogen transmission in pear orchards during the greater part of the year, especially in late winter, early spring and autumn. Multilocus sequence analysis by aid of the genes aceF and imp allowed the discrimination between 15 phytoplasma types. Three so far undescribed aceF genotypes and four undescribed imp genotypes were identified.
Diaphorina citri is a serious insect pest of citrus and an insect vector of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that causes Huanglongbing disease (citrus greening). In this study, we investigated the effect of the CLas pathogen on the life history parameters of D. citri at different temperature regimes. Our results demonstrated that the survival rate of first to fifth instar CLas-positive and CLas-negative D. citri fluctuate with the change in temperature over the range of 16–35 °C. Meanwhile, the mean developmental time (52.5 d) (d = day(s)) and adult longevity (5.2 d) of the CLas-positive psyllids was longer as compared to CLas-negative psyllids mean developmental time (32.81 d) and adult longevity (3.50 d) at the low- and high-temperature regimes (16 and 35 °C). However, at high temperature regimes, the significant effect of CLas-bacteria on D. citri fecundity was higher than the corresponding non-significant effect on their survivorship when compared to non-vectored psyllids. These results indicate a long-term, stable evolutionary relationship among vector-pathogen and climate change.
‘Candidatus Phytoplasma spp.’ are pathogenic bacteria that infect many plant species. ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’, one of the members of the 16SrX group causes pear decline disease that adversely affects pear crops. To describe the prevalence of ‘Ca. P. pyri’ genotypes in the Czech Republic, 143 pear samples were collected from 41 locations including commercial orchards as well as trees along roads. Phytoplasma was detected by PCR in 115 samples, and it was possible to determine imp gene genotype in 84 samples. The most frequent genotypes were A1, B1, and C, which were identified in 71% of phytoplasma positive samples. ‘Ca. P. pyri’ was present either alone or as a mix of two populations in 88% of genotyped samples, and in another 6% of samples it was found in a mixed infection with ‘Ca. Phytoplasma mali’. A sole infection with ‘Ca. Phytoplasma mali’ was observed in 6% of samples. As for symptoms, 19% of symptomatic samples were found to be phytoplasma negative, and 74% of asymptomatic samples proved to be phytoplasma positive; leaf roll was more often observed in phytoplasma positive samples, while leaf narrowing rather indicated the absence of phytoplasma. The mildest symptoms were observed in samples infected with ‘Ca. P. pyri’ of the A1 imp genotype.