‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ Infection of Physalis ixocarpa Brot. (Solanales: Solanaceae) in Saltillo, Mexico

Reyes Corral et al. (2021). Plant Disease 105 (9)
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Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
The potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) is a pest of solanaceous crops (order Solanales), including potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and tomato (S. lycopersicum L.). Feeding by high populations of nymphs causes psyllid yellows while adults and nymphs are vectors of the plant pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’. Foliar symptoms that were consistent with either ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection or psyllid yellows were observed in 2019 on tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.; family Solanaceae) grown within an experimental plot located near Saltillo, Mexico. This study had three primary objectives: 9i) determine whether the foliar symptoms observed on tomatillo were associated with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection, (ii) identify the haplotypes of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and potato psyllids present in the symptomatic plot, and (iii) use gut content analysis to infer the plant sources of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-infected psyllids. Results confirmed that 71% of symptomatic plants and 71% of psyllids collected from the plants were infected with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’. The detection of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ in plants and psyllids and the lack of nymphal populations associated with psyllid yellows strongly suggests that the observed foliar symptoms were caused by ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection. All infected plants and insects harbored the more virulent ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ haplotype B but one psyllid was also coinfected with haplotype A. The potato psyllids were predominantly of the central haplotype but one psyllid was identified as the western haplotype. Molecular gut content analysis of psyllids confirmed the movement of psyllids between noncrop habitats and tomatillo and indicated that ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ infection of psyllids was associated with increased plant diversity in their diet.
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