A new haplotype of “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” identified in the Mediterranean region
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“Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, a phloem-limited and Gram-negative bacterium that is spread from infected to healthy plants by psyllid insect vectors, is an economically important pathogen of solanaceous and carrot crops in the Americas, New Zealand and Europe. Three haplotypes of “Ca. L. solanacearum” have previously been described, two (LsoA and LsoB) in relation to solanaceous crops in the Americas and New Zealand and the third (LsoC) to carrots in Finland. Herein, we describe a fourth haplotype of this ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ species (LsoD), also associated with carrots, but from Spain and the Canary Islands and vectored by the psyllid Bactericera trigonica. In addition, LsoC was confirmed in carrot and psyllid samples recently collected from Sweden and Norway. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene suggests that two of the haplotypes, one in the Americas and the other in northern Europe are closer to each other in spite of a large geographic separation and host differences. Furthermore, during this study, potatoes with symptoms of zebra chip disease recently observed in potato crops in Idaho, Oregon and Washington states were analyzed for haplotype and were found to be positive for LsoA. This liberibacter haplotype was found in psyllids associated with the diseased potato crops as well. This finding contrasts with an earlier report of LsoB from psyllids in Washington which came from a laboratory colony originally collected in Texas.
KeywordsCandidatus Liberibacter solanacearum Haplotype Psyllids Bactericera cockerelli Bactericera trigonica Trioza apicalis Zebra chip Carrot disease
Financial support for this work was partially provided by USDA-ARS, USDA-RAMP (Project # 2009-51101-05892) and USDA-SCRI (Project #2009-51181-20176). We also would like to thank Agricola Villena Coop. V. for collecting Spanish carrot samples and for their financial support.
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