3 Biotech

, 9:310 | Cite as

Identification and transmission of phytoplasmas and their impact on essential oil composition in Aerva javanica

  • Chamran HemmatiEmail author
  • Mehrnoosh Nikooei
  • Assunta Bertaccini
Original Article


Aerva javanica plants showing symptoms of witches’ broom, little leaf, and leaf roll were observed in 50% of the A. javanica plants grown in the deserts of Hormozgan province, Iran. This study was carried out to verify possible phytoplasma association with this disease, insect vector, and modification of the chemical composition of symptomatic A. javanica. Aerial parts were collected at the full flowering stage from symptomatic and asymptomatic plants and samples were examined for phytoplasma presence by nested-PCR assays. PCR and sequencing analysis showed that a phytoplasma was associated with the disease sharing 99% sequence identity with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’-related strains (16SrII). Furthermore, this phytoplasma was transmitted to healthy periwinkle plants under experimental conditions by the leafhopper Austroagallia sinuata that was then demonstrated to be a vector of this phytoplasma. Analysis of the oils carried out by GC–MS revealed the enrichment of the triterpene hydrocarbons (2.3% in asymptomatic vs. 11.8% in symptomatic samples) and the hydrocarbons (69.3% vs. 85.93%) as compared to the abundance in asymptomatic samples. Conversely, a matching decrease in ketone (3.51% vs. 0.6%) was observed in the symptomatic plants. These results indicate that phytoplasma presence is influencing the secondary metabolites production in infected plants.


Pashmouk Phytoplasma disease 16SrII GC–MS Essential oils 



The authors thank Dr. Pakarpour Rayeni for identifying the leafhopper.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Minab Higher Education CenterUniversity of HormozganBandar AbbasIran
  2. 2.Plant Protection Research GroupUniversity of HormozganBandar AbbasIran
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural and Food SciencesAlma Mater Studiorum-University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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