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Datasheet

Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris
(yellow disease phytoplasmas)

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Datasheet

Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris
  • Preferred Common Name
  • yellow disease phytoplasmas
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Bacteria
  •   Phylum: Firmicutes
  •     Class: Mollicutes
  •       Order: Acholeplasmatales
  •         Family: Acholeplasmataceae

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); malformed flowers of Callistephus chinensis (China aster) affected by AY diseases showing dwarfed youngest leaves and flower malformations. Right, healthy flower.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); malformed flowers of Callistephus chinensis (China aster) affected by AY diseases showing dwarfed youngest leaves and flower malformations. Right, healthy flower.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); malformed flowers of Callistephus chinensis (China aster) affected by AY diseases showing dwarfed youngest leaves and flower malformations. Right, healthy flower.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); malformed flowers of Callistephus chinensis (China aster) affected by AY diseases showing dwarfed youngest leaves and flower malformations. Right, healthy flower.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); bushy tops and stunted and hairy roots on AY-infected carrot (Daucus carota). Healthy plant on left.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); bushy tops and stunted and hairy roots on AY-infected carrot (Daucus carota). Healthy plant on left.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); bushy tops and stunted and hairy roots on AY-infected carrot (Daucus carota). Healthy plant on left.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); bushy tops and stunted and hairy roots on AY-infected carrot (Daucus carota). Healthy plant on left.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY-infected lettuce (Lactuca sativa) showing stunting and failure to head.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY-infected lettuce (Lactuca sativa) showing stunting and failure to head.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY-infected lettuce (Lactuca sativa) showing stunting and failure to head.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY-infected lettuce (Lactuca sativa) showing stunting and failure to head.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli), infected by AY, characterized by proliferation of the inflorescence, phyllody and virescence.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli), infected by AY, characterized by proliferation of the inflorescence, phyllody and virescence.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli), infected by AY, characterized by proliferation of the inflorescence, phyllody and virescence.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli), infected by AY, characterized by proliferation of the inflorescence, phyllody and virescence.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); foliar symptoms of clover phyllody on Trifolium repens. Top left, healthy leaves.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); foliar symptoms of clover phyllody on Trifolium repens. Top left, healthy leaves.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); foliar symptoms of clover phyllody on Trifolium repens. Top left, healthy leaves.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); foliar symptoms of clover phyllody on Trifolium repens. Top left, healthy leaves.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); healthy plant (left) and AY- infected plant of Primula, showing yellowing, virescence and dwarfed flowers.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); healthy plant (left) and AY- infected plant of Primula, showing yellowing, virescence and dwarfed flowers.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); healthy plant (left) and AY- infected plant of Primula, showing yellowing, virescence and dwarfed flowers.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); healthy plant (left) and AY- infected plant of Primula, showing yellowing, virescence and dwarfed flowers.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); virescent flowers of AY-infected Anemone coronaria. Top left, healthy flower.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); virescent flowers of AY-infected Anemone coronaria. Top left, healthy flower.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); virescent flowers of AY-infected Anemone coronaria. Top left, healthy flower.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); virescent flowers of AY-infected Anemone coronaria. Top left, healthy flower.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); phyllody symptoms of AY-disease on a Ranunculus sp.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); phyllody symptoms of AY-disease on a Ranunculus sp.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); phyllody symptoms of AY-disease on a Ranunculus sp.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); phyllody symptoms of AY-disease on a Ranunculus sp.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY- infected periwinkle plant (Catharanthus sp.) showing a pronounced enlargement of the calyx.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY- infected periwinkle plant (Catharanthus sp.) showing a pronounced enlargement of the calyx.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY- infected periwinkle plant (Catharanthus sp.) showing a pronounced enlargement of the calyx.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); AY- infected periwinkle plant (Catharanthus sp.) showing a pronounced enlargement of the calyx.©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); larkspur (Delphinium sp.) plants, affected by AY disease, showing proliferation of axillary shoots. Right, healthy plant.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); larkspur (Delphinium sp.) plants, affected by AY disease, showing proliferation of axillary shoots. Right, healthy plant.
Copyright©C. Marcone
Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); larkspur (Delphinium sp.) plants, affected by AY disease, showing proliferation of axillary shoots. Right, healthy plant.
SymptomsCandidatus Phytoplasma asteris (yellow disease phytoplasmas); larkspur (Delphinium sp.) plants, affected by AY disease, showing proliferation of axillary shoots. Right, healthy plant.©C. Marcone

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris

Preferred Common Name

  • yellow disease phytoplasmas

Other Scientific Names

  • Aconitum proliferation
  • Aconitum virescence
  • Alberta aster yellows
  • alfalfa stunt
  • Alstroemeria decline
  • American aster yellows
  • Anemone virescence
  • apple sessile leaf
  • apricot chlorotic leaf roll
  • azalea little leaf
  • basil little leaf
  • Bermuda grass white leaf
  • black currant reversion
  • black pepper yellows
  • blueberry stunt
  • broccoli phyllody
  • Bunias phyllody
  • cactus virescence
  • cactus witches'-broom
  • Calendula virescence
  • canola yellows
  • Cardaria phyllody
  • carrot proliferation
  • carrot yellows
  • cassava phyllody phytoplasma
  • cassava witches' broom
  • Catharanthus little leaf
  • Catharanthus virescence
  • chayote witches'-broom
  • cherry bunch leaf
  • cherry little leaf
  • chlorantie
  • Chrysanthemum witches'-broom
  • Chrysanthemum yellows
  • Cirsium stunt
  • Cirsium yellows
  • clover phyllody
  • columbine virescence
  • coorg black pepper yellows
  • cosmos phyllody
  • Cyclamen virescence
  • dandelion yellows
  • Delphinium virescence
  • dill yellows
  • Diplotaxis virescence
  • dogfennel yellows
  • dogwood stunt
  • dwarf western aster yellows
  • eastern aster yellows
  • Echinacea phyllody
  • eggplant dwarf
  • eggplant little leaf
  • Epilobium phyllody
  • Erigeron yellows
  • European aster yellows
  • false ragweed
  • Festuca yelllows
  • Gaillardia yellows
  • Gladiolus virescence
  • grapevine yellows
  • grey dogwood stunt
  • hyacinth yellows
  • Hydrangea phyllody and virescence
  • Ipomoea obscura witches' broom
  • Italian cabbage yellows
  • Italian lettuce yellows
  • kale phyllody
  • larkspur virescence
  • lazy daisy yellows
  • lettuce yellows
  • lilac little leaf
  • Limonium proliferation
  • Limonium yellows
  • Lotus yellows
  • maize bushy stunt
  • mallow yellows
  • marguerite yellows
  • marigold phyllody
  • marigold virescence
  • Maryland aster yellows
  • Mitsuba witches' broom
  • monarda yellows
  • mulberry dwarf
  • multiplier disease
  • New England aster yellows
  • New Jersey aster yellows
  • oat proliferation
  • Oenothera virescence
  • olive witches'-broom
  • onion phyllody
  • onion virescence
  • onion yellows
  • Papaver virescence
  • parsley yellows
  • Paulownia witches' broom
  • peach red leaf disease
  • pear proliferation and decline
  • periwinkle little leaf
  • periwinkle witches' broom and virescence
  • periwinkle yellows
  • Phytoplasma asteris
  • plantain virescence
  • Poa stunt
  • poplar witches' broom
  • poplar yellows
  • Portulaca yellows
  • potato purple top
  • prickly lettuce yellows
  • Primula yellows
  • pumpkin yellows
  • purple coneflower yellows
  • Quercus proliferation
  • ragweed yellows
  • Ranunculus phyllody
  • rape phyllody
  • rape virescence
  • rose witches'-broom
  • ryegrass yellows
  • safflower phyllody
  • Salix proliferation
  • sandal spike
  • Saponaria proliferation
  • Schizanthus proliferation
  • severe western aster yellows
  • soybean purple stem
  • Spirea stunt
  • Stellaria yellows
  • strawberry green petal
  • strawberry phylloid fruit
  • strawberry stunting
  • Symphytum proliferation
  • Tacaco witches'-broom
  • Tagetes witches' broom
  • Thalictrum proliferation
  • tomato big bud
  • tomato yellows
  • turnip virescence
  • Veronica phyllody
  • watercress witches'-broom
  • western aster yellows
  • wild radish yellows

International Common Names

  • English: aster yellows phytoplasmas; AY

EPPO code

  • PHYP01 (Tomato big bud phytoplasma)
  • PHYPAS

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Bacteria
  •     Phylum: Firmicutes
  •         Class: Mollicutes
  •             Order: Acholeplasmatales
  •                 Family: Acholeplasmataceae
  •                     Genus: Phytoplasma
  •                         Species: Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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'CandidatusPhytoplasma asteris' is a member of the aster yellows (AY) phytoplasma group or 16SrI group, the largest and most diverse phytoplasma group (IRPCM, 2004; Lee et al., 2004). On the basis of 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, the AY phytoplasma group is relatively homogeneous, differing in not more than 3% of the nucleotide positions (Lee et al., 2004). Despite this low variation, the AY phytoplasma group could be subdivided into several distinct restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) subgroups (16SrI subgroups) by extensive RFLP analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences, employing 17 restriction enzymes (Lee et al., 1993a, 1998a, 2007a; Jomantiene et al., 1998, 2011a; Wei et al., 2011). A more detailed differentiation has been obtained by sequence and RFLP analyses of ribosomal protein (rpsV and rpsC), tuf, secA, secY, nusA and groEL genes, and the 16S-23S rRNA spacer region sequences (Marcone et al., 2000; Shao et al., 2006; Martini et al., 2007; Hodgetts et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2010; Mitrovic et al., 2011). Within the phytoplasma phylogenetic clade, AY group phytoplasmas are most closely related to stolbur phytoplasma group (16SrXII group), based on analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. The 'CandidatusPhytoplasma asteris' concept encompasses all known 16SrI subgroups within the AY phytoplasma group (Lee et al., 2004). To date, more than 17 16SrI subgroups have been delineated. Subgroup 16SrI-B represents the largest strain cluster in the AY group.

Description

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Ultrastructural aspects of AY group phytoplasmas in sieve tube elements of diseased plants have been studied by several researchers using transmission and scanning electron microscope observations (Hirumi and Maramorosch, 1973; Haggis and Sinha, 1978; Marcone et al., 1995; Marcone and Ragozzino, 1996; Fránová and Šimková, 2009; Fránová et al., 2009). The phytoplasma bodies varied in size and shape. They showed a very high polymorphism, appearing in round, ovoid, encurved and elongated forms. Octopus-like structures, as well as budding, dimpled- and dumbbell-shaped forms were also observed. The size of spherical forms ranged from 100 to 800 nm and filamentous bodies were up to 2600 nm in length. However, the morphological variations observed most probably represented various developmental stages of phytoplasmas and they cannot be considered as distinctive characteristics.

Distribution

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AY phytoplasma group is the most widespread phytoplasma group. However, there are significant differences in the geographic distribution of the various subgroups (Lee et al., 1998a, b; Seemüller et al., 1998; Marcone et al., 2000; Lee et al., 2004; Jomantiene et al., 2011a). Subgroups 16SrI-A, 16SrI-B and 16SrI-C are known to occur worldwide whereas subgroups 16SrI-L and 16SrI-M appear to be restricted to the European continent. Subgroups 16SrI-D, 16SrI-E and 16SrI-F seem to show pronounced host specificity. Each of them has been identified in only one host. This host specificity may be responsible for a restricted geographic distribution (Lee et al., 2004). The current information about distribution is likely to be just a temporary picture subject to change with further research. There are several reports of phytoplasmas diseases of weed, and ornamental and vegetable crop plants from Europe as well as from North America which have previously been described, mostly on the basis of symptomatology and microscopical examination. The identity of phytoplasmas occurring in these plants has not been determined.

Records of Ca. P. asteris in Victoria (EPPO, 2014) and Western Australia (EPPO, 2014) published in previous versions of the Compendium are invalid (Plant Health Australia, communication to CABI, 2019). EPPO (2019) does not include a record of Ca. P. asteris in Victoria. The original record may have been a misidentification of Buckland Valley grapevine yellows phytoplasma, which is closely related to Ca. P. asteris (group 16SrI) and Ca. P. australiense (16SrXII) but is a separate species. The original source of the record of Ca. P. asteris in Western Australia is Chambers (1961), cited in CMI (1976). The record of aster yellows on lettuce is based on disease symptoms observed in 1951 but the pathogen was never identified. It is likely to be due to Tomato big bud phytoplasma (16SrII).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaRestricted distributionNakamura et al., 1996; EPPO, 2014
-GuangdongPresentEPPO, 2014
-HainanPresentChen et al., 2017
-HubeiPresentWan et al., 2018
-JiangsuPresentMei et al., 2016Nanjing
-ShaanxiPresentZhang et al., 2013
-ShandongPresentChang et al., 2011
-XinjiangPresentLuan et al., 2018
-YunnanPresentEPPO, 2014
IndiaPresentSchneider et al., 1993; Baiswar et al., 2010; EPPO, 2014
-DelhiPresentKumar et al., 2010a; Kumar et al., 2010
-MeghalayaPresentBaiswar et al., 2010
-Uttar PradeshPresentKumar et al., 2010; Renu et al., 2014
IndonesiaPresentBoa et al., 2010
IranPresentVali-Sichani et al., 2014; Salehi et al., 2016Firuzabad, Shiraz and Darab in Fars Province
IsraelAbsent, no pest recordSchneider et al., 1993; EPPO, 2014
JapanPresentNamba et al., 1993; Nakamura et al., 1996; Okuda et al., 1997; EPPO, 2014
Korea, Republic ofPresentBack et al., 2010; Han et al., 2013
LebanonPresentEPPO, 2014
MalaysiaPresentKhew et al., 1991; Naderali et al., 2013; Neda et al., 2014; Neda et al., 2015
MyanmarPresentWin et al., 2014
TaiwanWidespreadLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Nakamura et al., 1996
ThailandPresentSchneider et al., 1993
TurkeyPresentÇaglayan et al., 2013

Africa

MozambiqueAbsent, invalid record
South AfricaRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
ZambiaAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014

North America

BermudaPresentEPPO, 2014
CanadaWidespreadLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996; Seemüller et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
-AlbertaWidespreadGundersen et al., 1996; Wang et al., 1998
MexicoWidespreadLee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996; Seemüller et al., 1998; Zak et al., 2011; Poghosyan et al., 2015
USAWidespreadLee et al., 1993a; Lee et al., 1993b; Gundersen et al., 1996; Seemüller et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014; Mollov et al., 2014
-AlaskaPresentMcBeath et al., 2011
-ArkansasPresentLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a
-CaliforniaPresentGundersen et al., 1996; Seemüller et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
-ConnecticutPresentLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996
-FloridaWidespreadGundersen et al., 1996; Harrison et al., 1997; Jomantiene et al., 1998; Seemüller et al., 1998; Harrison and Helmick, 2008
-MarylandWidespreadLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996
-MichiganWidespreadLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996; Mollov et al., 2014
-MinnesotaPresentLee et al., 1993a
-MissouriWidespreadLee et al., 1993b
-New JerseyPresentLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a
-New YorkPresentLee et al., 1993b
-OhioWidespreadLee et al., 1998a; Gundersen et al., 1996
-OklahomaWidespreadLee et al., 1993b; Lee et al., 1998a; Errampalli et al., 1991
-South DakotaPresentByamukama et al., 2016
-WisconsinPresentStanosz et al., 1997

Central America and Caribbean

CubaPresentZamora et al., 2012
GuatemalaPresentEPPO, 2014
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentEPPO, 2014

South America

ArgentinaPresentEPPO, 2014
BrazilPresentBedendo et al., 1997
ColombiaPresentEPPO, 2014
PeruPresentSchneider et al., 1993; EPPO, 2014

Europe

BelarusPresentEPPO, 2014
BelgiumPresentSchneider et al., 1993
Czech RepublicPresentBertaccini et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
FinlandPresentMunyaneza et al., 2011
FrancePresentSchneider et al., 1993; Vibio et al., 1996; Berges et al., 1997; EPPO, 2014
GermanyWidespread****Schneider et al., 1993; Schneider et al., 1997; Seemüller et al., 1998; Ipach et al., 2010; EPPO, 2014
GreecePresentGkavaleka et al., 2012; EPPO, 2014
HungaryWidespreadEPPO, 2014
ItalyWidespreadVibio et al., 1996; Marcone et al., 1997; Seemüller et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
LithuaniaPresentIvanauskas et al., 2016Vilnius
PolandPresentKaminska and Sliwa, 2008; Krawczyk et al., 2016; Zwolinska et al., 2016
PortugalPresentEPPO, 2014
Russian FederationPresentEPPO, 2014
SpainRestricted distributionSeemüller et al., 1998
UKPresentKeane et al., 1996; Vibio et al., 1996; Reeder and Arocha, 2008; EPPO, 2014; Nisbet et al., 2014
-England and WalesPresentReeder and Arocha, 2008; EPPO, 2014
UkrainePresentJomantiene et al., 2011

Oceania

AustraliaAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014; Plant Health Australia, communication to CABI, 2019
-VictoriaAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014; Plant Health Australia, communication to CABI, 2019
-Western AustraliaAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014; Plant Health Australia, communication to CABI, 2019

Risk of Introduction

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AY group phytoplasmas are not listed as quarantine pests by EPPO. However, they are of quarantine significance for the Inter-African Phytosanitary Commission.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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AY group phytoplasmas appear to have a wide host range. The vast majority of strains in the AY group infect herbaceous dicotyledonous plant hosts. However, a number of strains that belong to subgroups 16SrI-A, 16SrI-B and 16SrI-C are capable of infecting monocotyledonous plants (e.g., maize, onion, gladiolus, oat, wheat and grass). Some strains in subgroups 16SrI-A, 16SrI-B, 16SrI-D, 16SrI-E, 16SrI-F and 16SrI-Q can induce disease in woody plants (e.g., grey dogwood, sandalwood, blueberry, mulberry, peach, cherry, olive, grapevine and paulownia). For many of the plant hosts which have previously been reported to be affected by AY diseases on the basis of symptomatology and/or microscopic examinations (see McCoy et al., 1989), the identity of the infecting phytoplasmas has never been determined with molecular techniques, or proved to be different from that of other established AY phytoplasma strains (Schneider et al., 1997; Marcone et al., 2000). 

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Symptoms

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AY group phytoplasmas affect plants by causing extensive abnormalities in plant growth and development, suggestive of profound disturbance in plant hormone balance. Symptoms typical on herbaceous plant hosts include yellowing of the leaves, stunting, proliferation of auxiliary shoots resulting in a witches'-broom appearance, bunchy appearance of growth at the ends of stems, virescence of flowers and sterility, phyllody, shortening of internodes, elongation and etiolation of internodes, small and deformed leaves. Yellowing, decline, sparse foliage and dieback are predominant in woody plant hosts. However, it is well-known that distantly related phytoplasmas can cause identical symptoms in a given host plant, whereas closely related phytoplasmas can cause distinctly different symptoms. Lee et al. (1992) determined that different symptoms could be induced in Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle) by closely related strains of the AY phytoplasma group.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / abnormal patterns
Fruit / abnormal shape
Fruit / discoloration
Fruit / premature drop
Fruit / reduced size
Growing point / dieback
Growing point / discoloration
Growing point / distortion
Inflorescence / abnormal leaves (phyllody)
Inflorescence / discoloration (non-graminaceous plants)
Inflorescence / distortion (non-graminaceous plants)
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / abnormal forms
Leaves / leaves rolled or folded
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Roots / hairy root
Roots / reduced root system
Roots / stubby roots
Stems / dieback
Stems / internal red necrosis
Stems / stunting or rosetting
Stems / witches broom
Whole plant / distortion; rosetting
Whole plant / dwarfing
Whole plant / early senescence
Whole plant / elongation
Whole plant / plant dead; dieback
Whole plant / uprooted or toppled

Biology and Ecology

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AY group phytoplasmas are graft- but not seed-transmissible and spread naturally by insect vectors. Several leafhoppers, including Macrosteles fascifrons [M. quadrilineatus], M. laevis, M. striiformis, M. quadripunctulatus, M. sexnotatus, M. viridigriseus, Euscelis plebeja, E. lineolatus, E. incisus, Euscelidius variegatus, Aphrodes bicinctus, Hishimonoides sellatiformis, Scaphytopius acutus, Dalbulus elimatus, Colladonus montanus and C. geminatus, are reported to transmit them. However, M. quadrilineatus is reported to be the principal vector. These leafhopper species are polyphagous and can transmit the pathogens to a wide range of host plants (Lee et al., 1998b, 2004; Weintraub and Beanland, 2006).

AY group phytoplasmas are also readily transmissible by dodder (Cuscuta spp.). More than 50 strains of AY phytoplasma group have been transmitted by means of dodder from naturally infected plants to the experimental plant Catharanthus roseus and are maintained in this host by periodic grafting (Gundersen et al., 1996; Seemüller et al., 1998; Marcone et al., 2000).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal

Abiotic factors are not involved in natural spread of 'CandidatusPhytoplasma asteris'.

Vector transmission

'Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris' is naturally transmitted by a wide range of leafhoppers. However, Macrosteles fascifrons [M. quadrilineatus] is reported to be the principal vector (Lee et al., 1998b, 2004; Weintraub and Beanland, 2006).

Accidental introduction

Like other phytoplasmas, 'CandidatusPhytoplasma asteris' is not seed-transmissible. However, it may be introduced into new areas where it may have never existed before by importing vegetative propagating materials that carry the pathogen undetected.

Intentional introduction

The use of infected vegetative propagating material is responsible for long-distance movement of the pathogen and intentional introduction into new areas.

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Leaves Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Roots Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
True seeds (inc. grain)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Impact

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Aster  yellows (AY) group phytoplasmas affect plants by causing a general reduction in quantity and quality of yield. The most severely affected hosts are carrot, lettuce, onion, spinach and several ornamental crops, including aster, gladiolus, hydrangea, chrysanthemum and purple coneflower. Disease incidence may vary from year to year depending on the population trend of the vectors in the field. Infection rates varying from 20 to 30% were observed in lettuce and ranunculus fields in southern Italy (Marcone et al., 1995; Parrella et al., 2008). In Oklahoma, USA, according to Errampalli et al. (1991), AY group phytoplasma infections occurred in 80% of lettuce plants and 28% of carrots. In Ohio, disease incidence of 100% has been recorded in lettuce fields (Zhang et al., 2004). A major outbreak of AY disease occurred in 2000 in Texas that affected several vegetable crops. Among them, carrot was most severely damaged with infection rates that ranged from to 50 to near 100% (Lee et al., 2003). A severe AY disease of chrysanthemum which induced losses of 70 to 80% of the crop has been reported from China (Min et al., 2008) whereas losses of 90% were recorded in AY-affected aubergines in Bangladesh (Kelly et al., 2009). Infection rates of 60 and 99% were recorded in Hungary for AY-affected sugarbeet plants and India for AY-affected Jatropha curcas plants, respectively (Mumford et al., 2000; Kumar et al., 2010b). However, there are also several reports on sporadic occurrence and generally low incidence of AY group phytoplasmas in vegetable and ornamental crops (Smith et al., 1988; Vibio et al., 1995; Bertaccini et al., 1998). Cassava witches’ broom, a disease affecting cassava in South East Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China and the Philippines) is caused by 16SrI phytoplasma. The disease has resulted in significant reductions in cassava root starch content and up to 80% yield loss in parts of Vietnam (Anon., 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Parasitism (incl. parasitoid)
  • Pathogenic
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Diagnosis

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Detection of 'CandidatusPhytoplasma asteris' infections is possible by microscopic examination of phloem tissue sections stained with the DNA fluorochrome 4'-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) as well as by electron microscopy. However, microscopic methods do not allow specific detection of the various phytoplasma types, and are not always sufficiently sensitive to detect the pathogens in low-titre hosts such as woody plants. Serological assays using monoclonal antibodies have been successfully employed for detection and identification of AY group phytoplasmas in samples from hosts with a sufficiently high titre (Clark et al., 1989; Lee et al., 1993b; Keane et al., 1996; Loi et al., 1998).

Currently, PCR technology is the method of choice for detection and identification of AY group phytoplasmas and has completely replaced the other techniques. It offers several advantages, including versatility, relative simplicity, specificity and high sensitivity. Universal, group- and pathogen-specific phytoplasma primers have been designed, directed to ribosomal DNA sequences. The sensitivity of PCR detection can be further improved by reamplifying the DNA fragments obtained in the first amplification using internal primers (nested PCR) (Lee et al., 1994; Gundersen and Lee, 1996; Bertaccini et al., 1998, 2005; Marcone et al., 2000; Lee et al., 2004, 2010). Quantitative real-time PCR assays were also employed to quantify AY group phytoplasma infections in chrysanthemum plants (Wei et al., 2004; Saracco et al., 2006).

Detection and Inspection

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For reliable diagnosis, the identity of phytoplasmas occurring in plants characterized by the symptoms described (see Symptoms), should be determined by molecular techniques.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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There are several reports where two or more distinctly different phytoplasmas may induce identical symptoms in a given host plant. Some examples are grapevine affected by grapevine yellows syndrome which can be caused by either phytoplasmas of the elm yellows (16srV) group or by organisms from the stolbur (16SrXII), aster yellows (16SrI) and peach X-disease (16SrIII) groups, tomato affected by 'big bud' disease which can be associated with either the stolbur agent or phytoplasmas from aster yellows, peanut witches’-broom (16SrII), elm yellows and X-disease groups and clover affected by clover phyllody disease which can be caused by phytoplasmas from the aster yellows and X-disease groups (Seemüller et al., 1998; IRPCM, 2004). In all these cases, AY group phytoplasmas can be distinguished using molecular-based tools.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

The incidence of aster yellows (AY) disease can be reduced significantly if proper attention is given to all control measures. These mainly include the use of healthy plant material, eradication of perennial or biennial weed hosts from the field, roadways and fences, control of the leafhopper vectors in the crop and on weeds with insecticides as early in the season as possible and avoidance of planting a susceptible crop next to a crop harbouring the pathogens. Application of tetracyclines may be appropriate for the treatment of particularly valuable trees, but tetracyclines are not registered in some countries for this purpose.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO)http://www.eppo.org/
International Phytoplasmologist Working Grouphttp://www.ipwgnet.org/
Q-bank Phytoplasmahttp://www.q-bank.eu/Phytoplasmas/

Contributors

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05/12/11 Updated by:

Carmine Marcone, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Via Ponte Don Melillo, I-84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy.

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