Prevalence of a ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’-Related Strain Designated as New 16SrXII-P Subgroup over ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus’ in Sugar Beet in Eastern Germany

Duduk et al. (2023). Plant Disease 107 (12)
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Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
Two phloem-limited pathogens, ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus’ and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’, threaten sugar beet production in France, Switzerland, and Germany. Previous studies of these pathogens in Germany had focused on its western and southern regions, leaving a knowledge gap about eastern Germany. Despite their importance, this study is the first to investigate phytoplasmas in sugar beet in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. A phytoplasma strain related to ‘Ca. P. solani’ is found predominant in Saxony-Anhalt, unlike in France, where ‘Ca. P. solani’ has a minor role compared with ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’. The phytoplasma strain infecting sugar beet in Saxony-Anhalt was classified into a new subgroup designated as 16SrXII-P. The multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) of nonribosomal genes of the novel phytoplasma strain showed that it is significantly different from the reference and all previously reported ‘Ca. P. solani’ strains including the strain from western Germany. Analyses of sugar beet samples from previous years confirmed the presence of the 16SrXII-P strain in sugar beet as early as 2020 and also in Bavaria in southern Germany. Based on 16S rDNA analysis, ‘Ca. A. phytopathogenicus’ in Saxony-Anhalt is identical to strains in sugar beet in other parts of Germany and France, as well as to a strain in potato from Germany. The presence and prevalence of two phytoplasmas in sugar beet in Germany suggest that more attention should be directed toward understanding phytoplasma infection in sugar beet in this country.
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