Tropical Plant Pathology

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 242–246 | Cite as

Identification of grass white leaf disease associated with a ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’-related phytoplasma strain (16SrI-B and cpn60 I-IIIB) in Mexico

  • Edel Pérez-López
  • Tim J. DumonceauxEmail author
Short Communication


Samples of a wild grass showing white leaf symptoms were collected in 2015 in Veracruz, Mexico around sugarcane plantations. DNA amplification, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of a ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’-related strain in the plants that were positive using 16S-based and cpn60 PCR assays. The strain determined to be associated with the grass white leaf disease was identified as a member of the 16SrI-B subgroup and a member of the cpn60 I-IIIB subgroup through in silico RFLP analysis. This is the first report of phytoplasma-infected grass plants associated with white leaf disease in Mexico. The implications of these findings are vital for the management of other plant hosts of the family Poaceae such as sugarcane and corn, and point to weedy grasses as a potential source of phytoplasma inoculum for nearby crop plants.


16SrI-B Candidatus phytoplasma asteris’ cpn60 UT Grass white leaf disease 



This work was supported by the Genomic Research and Development Initiative for the shared priority project on quarantine and invasive species. EPL thanks Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Saskatoon Research Centre and the government of Canada for the time in TJD Lab.


  1. Adam OJ, Midega CAO, Runo S, Khan ZR (2015) Molecular determination and characterization of phytoplasma 16S rRNA gene in selected wild grasses from western Kenya. Journal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology 6:274. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arocha Y, Jones P (2010) Phytoplasma diseases of the Gramineae. In: Weintraub PD, Jones P (eds) Phytoplasmas genomes, plant hosts and vectors. CABI, Wallingford, pp 170–187Google Scholar
  3. Arocha Y, Gonzalez L, Peralta EL, Jones P (1999) First report of virus and phytoplasma pathogens associated with yellow leaf syndrome of sugarcane in Cuba. Plant Disease 83:1177–1177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arocha Y, Horta D, Piñol B, Palenzuela I, Picornell S, Almeida R, Jones P (2005) First report of a phytoplasma associated with Bermuda grass white leaf disease in Cuba. Plant Pathology 54:233–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedendo IP, Davis RE, Dally EL (2000) Detection and identification of the maize bushy stunt phytoplasma in corn plants in Brazil using PCR and RFLP. International Journal of Pest Management 46:73–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonfield JK, Whitwham A (2010) Gap5 - editing the billion fragment sequence assembly. Bioinformatics 26:1699–1703CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Chase A (1921) The North American species of Pennisetum. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 22:209–234Google Scholar
  8. Dumonceaux TJ, Green M, Hammond C, Perez E, Olivier C (2014) Molecular diagnostic tools for detection and differentiation of phytoplasmas based on chaperonin-60 reveal differences in host plant infection patterns. PloS One 9:e116039CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Gundersen DE, Lee IM (1996) Ultrasensitive detection of phytoplasmas by nested-PCR assays using two universal primer pairs. Phytopathologia Mediterranea 35:144–151Google Scholar
  10. Harrison NA, Richardson PA, Tsai JH, Ebbert MA, Kramer JB (1996) PCR assay for detection of the phytoplasma associated with maize bushy stunt disease. Plant Disease 80:263–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hodgetts J, Chuquillangui C, Muller G, Arocha Y, Gamarra D, Pinillos O, Velit E, Lozada P, Boa E, Boonham N, Mumford R, Barker I, Dickinson M (2009) Surveys reveal the occurrence of phytoplasmas in plants at different geographical locations in Peru. Annals of Applied Biology 155:15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jones P, Devonshire BJ, Holman TJ, Ajanga S (2004) Napier grass stunt: a new disease associated with a 16SrXI group phytoplasma in Kenya. Plant Pathology 53:519–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jones P, Arocha Y, Zerfy T, Proud J, Abebe G, Hanson J (2007) A stunting syndrome of Napier grass in Ethiopia is associated with a 16SrIII group phytoplasma. Plant Pathology 56:345–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee IM, Pastore M, Vibio M, Danielli A, Attathom S, Davis RE, Bertaccini A (1997) Detection and characterization of a phytoplasma associated with annual blue grass (Poa annua) white leaf disease in southern Italy. European Journal of Plant Pathology 103:251–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lee IM, Gundersen-Rindal DE, Davis RE, Bartoszyk IM (1998) Revised classification scheme of phytoplasmas based on RFLP analyses of 16S rRNA and ribosomal protein gene sequences. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 48:1153–1169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lee IM, Davis RE, Gundersen-Rindal DE (2000) Phytoplasma: phytopathogenic mollicutes. Annual Review of Microbiology 54:221–255CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee IM, Gundersen-Rindal DE, Davis RE, Bottner KD, Marcone C, Seemüller E (2004a) ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’, a novel phytoplasma taxon associated with aster yellows and related diseases. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 54:1037–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee IM, Martini M, Marcone C, Zhu SF (2004b) Classification of phytoplasma strains in the elm yellows group (16SrV) and proposal of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi’ for the phytoplasma associated with elm yellows. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 54:337–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marcone C, Schneider B, Seemüller E (2004) ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’, the phytoplasma associated with Bermuda grass white leaf disease. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 54:1077–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mitrović J, Smiljkovic M, Seemueller E, Reinhardt R, Hüttel B, Buettner C, Bertaccini A, Kube M, Duduk B (2015) Differentiation of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’ based on 16S rDNA and groEL genes and identification of a new subgroup, 16SrXIV-C. Plant Disease 99:1578–1583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nakashima K, Kato S, Iwanami S, Murata N (1993) Mycoplasma-like organisms (MLOs) and distinguish them from other MLOs. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 59:1206–1212PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Obura E, Masiga D, Midega CAO, Otim M, Wachira F, Pickett J, Khan ZR (2011) Hyparrhenia grass white leaf disease, associated with a 16SrXI phytoplasma, newly reported in Kenya. New Disease Reports 24:17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Olivier C, Dumonceaux T, Perez-Lopez E, Wist T, Elliott B, Vail S (2017) Detection, symptomatology and management of aster yellows disease in canola. In: Reddy GVP (ed) Integrated management of insect pests on canola and other brassica oilseed crops. CABI, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  24. Omar AF (2016) Association of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’ with Bermuda grass white leaf disease and its new hosts in Qassim province, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Plant Interactions 11:101–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pérez-López E, Luna-Rodríguez M, Olivier CY, Dumonceaux TJ (2016a) The underestimated diversity of phytoplasmas in Latin America. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 66:492–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pérez-López E, Olivier CY, Luna-Rodríguez M, Dumonceaux TJ (2016b) Phytoplasma classification and phylogeny based on in silico and in vitro RFLP analysis of cpn60 universal target sequences. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 66:5600–5613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pérez-López E, Olivier CY, Luna-Rodríguez M, Rodríguez Y, Iglesias LG, Castro-Luna A, Adame-García J, Dumonceaux TJ (2016c) Maize bushy stunt phytoplasma affects native corn at high elevations in Southeast Mexico. European Journal of Plant Pathology 145:963–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rao GP, Srivastava S, Gupta PS, Sharma SR, Singh A, Singh S, Singh M, Marconi C (2008) Detection of sugarcane grassy shoot phytoplasma infecting sugarcane in India and its phylogenetic relationships to closely related phytoplasmas. Sugar Tech 10:74–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Santos-Cervantes ME, Chávez-Medina JA, Méndez-Lozano J, Leyva-López NE (2008) Detection and molecular characterization of two little leaf phytoplasma strains associated with pepper and tomato diseases in Guanajuato and Sinaloa, Mexico. Plant Disease 92:1007–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Santos-Cervantes ME, Chávez-Medina JA, Acosta-Pardini J, Flores-Zamora GL, Méndez-Lozano J, Leyva-López NE (2010) Genetic diversity and geographical distribution of phytoplasmas associated with potato purple top disease in Mexico. Plant Disease 94:388–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schneider B, Padovan A, De La Rue S, Eichner R, Davis R, Bernuetz A, Gibb K (1999) Detection and differentiation of phytoplasmas in Australia: an update. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 50:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Silva EG, Bedendo IP, Casagrande MV, Moraes VA (2009) Molecular identification and phylogenetic analysis of a group 16SrI-B phytoplasma associated with sugarcane yellow leaf syndrome in Brazil. Journal of Phytopathology 157:771–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Snehi SK, Khan MS, Raj SK, Mall S, Singh M, Rao GP (2008) Molecular identification of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’ associated with Bermuda grass white leaf disease in India. Plant Pathology 57:770–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Suma S, Jones P (2000) Ramu stunt. In: Rott P (ed) A guide to sugarcane diseases. Cirad, Montpellier, pp 226–230Google Scholar
  35. Tamura K, Stecher G, Peterson D, Filipski A, Kumar S (2013) MEGA6: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 6.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30:2725–2729CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Valiūnas D, Urbanavičienė L, Jomantienė R, Davis RE (2007) Molecular detection, classification, and phylogenetic analysis of subgroup 16SrI-C phytoplasmas detected in diseased Poa and Festuca in Lithuania. Biologija 53:36–39Google Scholar
  37. Wei W, Lee IM, Davis RE, Suo X, Zhao Y (2008) Automated RFLP pattern comparison and similarity coefficient calculation for rapid delineation of new and distinct phytoplasma 16Sr subgroup lineages. International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 58:2368–2377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Win NKK, Jung H-Y (2012) ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma cynodontis’ associated with white leaf disease of golden beard grass (Chrysopogon acicalatus). Tropical Plant Pathology 37:76–79Google Scholar
  39. Zhao Y, Wei W, Lee I-M, Shao J, Suo X, Davis RE (2009) Construction of an interactive online phytoplasma classification tool, iPhyClassifier, and its application in analysis of the peach X-disease phytoplasma group (16SrIII). International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology 59:2582–2593CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Plant PathologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research and Development CentreSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary MicrobiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations