Prevalence in Potato of ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus Phytopathogenicus’ and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma Solani’ and Their Transmission via Adult Pentastiridius leporinus

Rinklef et al. (2024). Insects 15 (4)
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Insect Science
The planthopper Pentastiridius leporinus (Hempiptera: Cixiidae) is the main vector of two bacterial pathogens: the γ-proteobacterium ‘Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus’ and the stolbur phytoplasma ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’. These pathogens cause the disease syndrome basses richesses (SBR) in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris), which reduces the yields and sugar content. In 2022, potato (Solanum tuberosum) fields were found to be colonized by P. leporinus, and the transmission of Arsenophonus was confirmed, resulting in symptoms like wilting, yellow leaves, and rubbery tubers. We monitored both pathogens in Southwest Germany in 2022 and 2023. This revealed their widespread presence in potato tubers, although there were differences in regional prevalence. The broad prevalence of Arsenophonus was maintained in 2023, whereas the prevalence of stolbur increased in most locations. We confirmed that P. leporinus adults can transmit both pathogens to potatoes, but neither pathogen reduced the germination rate of tubers, and no plants showed abnormal growth after germination. Arsenophonus was not detected in germinated shoots, but 5.4% contained stolbur, emphasizing the need for plant material testing to maintain phytosanitary conditions.
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