Roles of stolbur phytoplasma and Reptalus panzeri (Cixiinae, Auchenorrhyncha) in the epidemiology of Maize redness in Serbia


Maize redness (MR), a disease causing midrib, leaf and stalk reddening and abnormal ear development in maize, has been reported from Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria for 50 years. Recent epiphytotics reduced yields by 40%–90% in southern Banat, Serbia. MR was recently associated with the presence of the stolbur phytoplasma, although the epidemiology of the disease remained unknown. Diseased fields in southern Banat were surveyed for potential vectors of the phytoplasma during 2005 and 2006, and high populations of Reptalus panzeri were found. In affected fields, 20% of the R. panzeri individuals and 85% of symptomatic maize plants carried the stolbur phytoplasma. When stolbur phytoplasma-infected R. panzeri were introduced into insect-free mesh cages containing healthy maize plants, midrib and leaf reddening developed on 48% of plants and stolbur phytoplasma was detected in 90% of the symptomatic plants. No symptoms or phytoplasma-positive plants were found in cages without insects. These data indicate that MR symptoms are associated with the stolbur phytoplasma. Reptalus panzeri is both abundant in affected fields and can transmit the stolbur phytoplasma, indicating the insect is likely to be a major vector of MR.

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This was supported by USDA Foreign Agriculture Service grant 58-3148-4-086 to the Ohio State University Research Foundation. Salaries and research support were also provided by state and federal funds appropriated to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University. Approved for publication as Journal Article no. HCS 04-07. We thank Kristen Willie for expert technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Margaret G. Redinbaugh.

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Jović, J., Cvrković, T., Mitrović, M. et al. Roles of stolbur phytoplasma and Reptalus panzeri (Cixiinae, Auchenorrhyncha) in the epidemiology of Maize redness in Serbia. Eur J Plant Pathol 118, 85–89 (2007).

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  • Class Mollicutes
  • Banat region
  • Candidatus Phytoplasma solani
  • Vector