Molecular detection and identification of phytoplasmas in a novel 16SrI subgroup in sunflowers and cocklebur weeds

  • Lei Zhang
  • Ping-ping Sun
  • Qiang MaEmail author
  • Xiao-zhao Xu
  • Hong-you Zhou
  • Zheng-nan LiEmail author
Short Communication


Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) exhibiting symptoms of stem fasciation and cluster of multiple inflorescences were observed in Baicheng, Jilin province, China. Coincidently, cockleburs (Xanthium strumarium L.), a weed in the sunflower fields, showing similar symptoms were observed as well. Based on successful amplification of 16S rRNA and secY genes of phytoplasmas, the sunflower fasciation disease (SFD) and cocklebur fasciation disease (CFD) were determined to be associated with phytoplasmas. Based on virtual and actual RFLP analysis of the F2nR2 region of the 16S rRNA genes, the SFD and CFD associated phytoplasmas were classified into a novel 16SrI subgroup, designated 16SrI-AI. This was the first report of SFD associated phytoplasma in China, and the first evidence of phytoplasma infecting cocklebur worldwide.


Sunflower fasciation Cocklebur fasciation Phytoplasma RFLP A novel subgroup of 16SrI-AI 



This research was funded by the State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas Open Project (CSBAA2016005). The authors are grateful to Dr. George Ochieng Asudi for giving great comments and suggestions on improving the manuscript, who is from Biochemistry and Biotechnology Department, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya and Bioinformatik und Molekulare Botanik, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany.


This study was funded by the State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas Open Project (CSBAA2016005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Patologia Vegetale (S.I.Pa.V.) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Horticulture and Plant ProtectionInner Mongolia Agricultural UniversityHuhhotChina
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureQingdao Agricultural UniversityQingdaoChina

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