Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Epidemiological and molecular study on 'Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum' in Austria and Hungary.

Abstract

The epidemiology of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum' was studied in Austria and Hungary from 2014 to 2018. Testing of root samples showed average infections rates of 61 and 40% of the Austrian Prunus spinosa and Prunus domestica spp. insititia samples, respectively. In Hungary, on average 21% of the P. spinosa and 13% of the feral Prunus cerasifera samples were infected. The pathogen was found in 18 out of 19 apricot orchards and PCR positive Cacopsylla pruni were observed at 11 out of 17 sampling locations in both countries. In cage experiments with C. pruni remigrants successful pathogen transmission to Prunus armeniaca, P. domestica and P. spinosa seedlings in budding and foliated developmental stages was recorded, an inoculation access period of 4 hr was sufficient for transmission. A field experiment with ungrafted apricot seedlings planted in 2012 and 2014 indicated a prominent role of the insect vectors for disease spread. In 2017, 40 and 28% of the trees planted in 2012 and 2014, respectively, were infected. Molecular characterisation based on the genes aceF and imp allowed the discrimination between 10 phytoplasma types in apricots. Around 70% of the phytoplasma types in apricots were also common in P. spinosa, in P. domestica spp. insititia and in remigrant C. pruni pointing to a possible pathogen exchange by insects between wild and cultivated Prunus spp. For disease control, vector management over the entire flight period of the remigrants seems necessary; when selecting active compounds, the short inoculation access period of not more than 4 hr should be considered.