American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Phenotypic and Etiological Differences Between Psyllid Yellows and Zebra Chip Diseases of Potato

  • Venkatesan G. Sengoda
  • Joseph E. MunyanezaEmail author
  • James M. Crosslin
  • Jeremy L. Buchman
  • Hanu R. Pappu


Both potato psyllid yellows and zebra chip (ZC) potato diseases are associated with the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc). Aboveground plant symptoms of both diseases are similar but there is a difference in symptoms in potato tubers. ZC has recently been associated with a new species of the bacterium liberibacter, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, also known as ‘Ca. Liberibacter psyllaurous’. Mechanisms by which the potato psyllid might cause either ZC or potato psyllid yellows symptoms are not understood. Insect transmission studies were conducted to demonstrate psyllid vectoring of both diseases and to compare symptoms and development of the two diseases. Potato plants were exposed to both liberibacter-free and liberibacter-carrying potato psyllids and later evaluated for plant and tuber symptoms. These plants and tubers were then tested for liberibacter by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, potato plants exhibiting severe psyllid yellows/ZC-like symptoms were collected from a commercial potato field heavily infested with the potato psyllid and tested for liberibacter. PCR detected ‘Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum’ in ZC symptomatic plants and tubers resulting from exposure to liberibacter-carrying psyllids. Despite development of foliar symptoms that resemble those of ZC in plants exposed to liberibacter-free psyllids, no liberibacter was detected in these plants with psyllid yellows. Moreover, tubers from these plants with psyllid yellows did not exhibit any symptoms of ZC infection and tested negative for the bacterium. No liberibacter was detected in plants or tubers collected from the psyllid-infested potato field, suggesting that the observed symptoms were due to psyllid yellows. Furthermore, potato plants that were infected with liberibacter died sooner than plants that were infected with psyllid yellows. Although an association between liberibacter and ZC has been established, no pathogen is yet associated with potato psyllid yellows and mechanisms by which psyllid yellows symptoms are induced by the potato psyllid remain unclear.


Psyllid yellows Zebra chip disease Potato Potato psyllid Candidatus Liberibacter 


Las dos enfermedades de la papa, el amarillamiento de la papa por psílidos y zebra chip (ZC), están asociadas con el psílido de la papa Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc). Los síntomas aéreos de la planta por ambas enfermedades son similares, pero hay una diferencia en los síntomas del tubérculo. La ZC se ha asociado recientemente con una nueva especie de bacteria liberibacter, “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” , también conocida como “Ca. Liberibacter psyllaurous”. No se han entendido los mecanismos por los cuales el psílido de la papa puede causar los síntomas, ya sea de la ZC o el amarillamiento de la papa por psílidos. Se condujeron estudios de la transmisión por insectos para demostrar la transmisión de ambas enfermedades por psílidos y para comparar los síntomas y el desarrollo de ambas enfermedades. Se expusieron plantas de papa a psílidos de la papa, tanto libres como con liberibacter, y se evaluaron posteriormente los síntomas de la planta y del tubérculo. Estas plantas y tubérculos se probaron después para liberibacter con la reacción en cadena de la polimerasa (PCR). Además, se colectaron plantas de papa que exhibieron síntomas severos de amarillamiento por psílidos/ZC, de un campo comercial de papa severamente infestado con el psílido de la papa, y se probaron para liberibacter. La PCR detectó “Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum” en plantas y tubérculos con síntomas de ZC, como resultado de su exposición a los psílidos con liberibacter. A pesar del desarrollo de síntomas foliares parecidos a los de ZC en plantas expuestas a los psílidos libres de liberibacter, no se detectó liberibacter en estas plantas con amarillamiento por psílidos. Aún mas, los tubérculos de estas plantas con amarillamiento por psílidos no exhibieron síntomas de infección por ZC y resultaron negativas a la bacteria. No se detectó liberibacter en plantas o tubérculos colectados del campo de papa infestado por psílidos, lo cual sugiere que los síntomas observados fueron debidos al amarillamiento por psílidos. Incluso, las plantas infectadas con liberibacter murieron más pronto que las infectadas con amarillamiento por psílidos. Aún cuando se ha establecido una asociación entre liberibacter y ZC, no se ha asociado a algún patógeno con el amarillamiento de la papa por psílidos y permanecen si aclararse los mecanismos por los cuales se inducen los síntomas del amarillamiento por el psílido de la papa.



We thank Launa Hamlin and Richard Delorme for their invaluable technical assistance. We are also grateful to Jon Gilley and Lucy Carpio from CSS Farms for providing and processing field-collected potatoes affected by psyllid yellows. Financial support for this work was partially provided by Frito Lay, Inc., Texas Department of Agriculture, and the USDA-ARS State Cooperative Potato Research Program.


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Copyright information

© Potato Association of America 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Venkatesan G. Sengoda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joseph E. Munyaneza
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • James M. Crosslin
    • 3
  • Jeremy L. Buchman
    • 1
  • Hanu R. Pappu
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA-ARSYakima Agricultural Research LaboratoryWapatoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARSVegetable and Forage Crop Research UnitProsserUSA
  4. 4.USDA-ARSWapatoUSA

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