Mixed infection and natural spread of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris' and Mungbean yellow mosaic India virus affecting soya bean crop in India.
Suspected phytoplasma and virus-like symptoms of little leaf, yellow mosaic and witches' broom were recorded on soya bean and two weed species (Digitaria sanguinalis and Parthenium hysterophorus), at experimental fields of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India, in August-September 2013. The phytoplasma aetiology was confirmed in symptomatic soya bean and both the weed species by direct and nested PCR assays with phytoplasma-specific universal primer pairs (P1/P6 and R16F2n/R16R2n). One major leafhopper species viz. Empoasca motti Pruthi feeding on symptomatic soya bean plants was also found phytoplasma positive in nested PCR assays. Sequencing BLASTn search analysis and phylogenetic analysis revealed that 16Sr DNA sequences of phytoplasma isolates of soya bean, weeds and leafhoppers had 99% sequence identity among themselves and were related to strains of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris'. PCR assays with Mungbean yellow mosaic India virus (MYMIV) coat-protein-specific primers yielded an amplicon of approximately 770 bp both from symptomatic soya bean and from whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) feeding on soya bean, confirmed the presence of MYMIV in soya bean and whitefly. Hence, this study suggested the mixed infection of MYMIV and 'Ca. P. asteris' with soya bean yellow leaf and witches' broom syndrome. The two weed species (D. sanguinalis and P. hysterophorus) were recorded as putative alternative hosts for 'Ca. P. asteris' soya bean Indian strain. However, the leafhopper E. motti was recorded as putative vector for the identified soya bean phytoplasma isolate, and the whitefly (B. tabaci) was identified as vector of MYMIV which belonged to Asia-II-1 genotype.