Identification of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’, the Huanglongbing Bacterium, in Citrus from Colombia

Chaves-Sierra et al. (2024). Plant Disease 108 (5)
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Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ spp. are the most prevalent microorganisms in the citrus plant, associated with citrus huanglongbing, which are transmitted by psyllid vectors. In Colombia, the vector Diaphorina citri Kuwayama has been reported in different regions, but ‘Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) has only been detected in insect vectors, not in citrus host plants. To identify the presence and quantify the pathogen in citrus tissues, we employed a combined strategy that involved three techniques based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR). First, we used endpoint PCR with specific primers for CLas (OI1/OI2c) to confirm the infection. Second, we used qPCR with specific primers CIT295a/CIT298 designed on 16S rDNA gene regions to quantify the pathogen load. Finally, we used droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to determine the copy number of the pathogen in citrus tissues using the β-subunit of the ribonucleotide reductase gene (nrdB) that is specific to CLas. We identified the presence of CLas in citrus plants for the first time in Colombia and quantified its titer in the plant tissue. We employed ddPCR and qPCR to provide crucial information for the country’s disease management, control strategies, and general crop health. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .
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