A ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma omanense’-related strain detected in yellowing grapevine, stunted bindweed and Cixiidae planthoppers in Lebanon

  • Xavier Foissac
  • Fouad Jreijiri
  • Pascal Salar
  • Samer Wakim
  • Jean-Luc Danet
  • Elia Choueiri


Grapevine yellows (GY) affecting Lebanese vineyards are reported to be associated with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’, the bois noir (BN) etiological agent. However, during a field survey in June 2014 for BN in Mansoura municipality of West Bekaa, Lebanon, ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma omanense’ was detected in a grapevine sample, cultivar Syrah, exhibiting leaf scorch and discoloration, using a phytoplasma universal nested-PCR and sequencing of the 1.2 kbp 16SrDNA amplicon. The same 1.2 kbp 16SrDNA sequence could be amplified from Hyalesthes obsoletus and Reptalus sp. Cixiidae planthoppers collected on Convolvulus arvensis (bindweed) plants in June 2014 in Aammiq municipality of West Bekaa. Yellowing and stunted bindweed plants collected in 2015 in Kefraya and Aamiq municipalities of West Bekaa were also found infected with the same phytoplasma strain. A 16S rDNA RFLP assay was designed to differentiate this phytoplasma from ‘Ca. P. solani’ and ‘Ca. P. phoenicium’, which are endemic to the Bekaa region. ‘Ca. P. omanense’ is reported for the first time in grapevine and in Cixiidae planthoppers already known to respectively host and vector ‘Ca. P. solani’ strains associated with BN disease in grapevine. This result highlights the need for a precise survey of phytoplasmas associated to grapevine yellows in the Eastern Mediterranean basin, and for investigating the possible role of ‘Ca. P. omanense’ as a new threat to Euro-Mediterranean viticulture.


Grapevine yellows Phytoplasma Planthopper Bois noir Epidemiology 



The authors wish to dedicate this publication to the memory of their colleague Jean-Luc Danet and acknowledge Engineer Imad Choueiry from Château Ksara for providing samples.

Author contributions

EC and XF conceived and designed the study. EC, FJ and XF collected samples. JLD identified the insects. FJ, PS, SW performed the experiments. XF carried out the data analysis. XF and EC contributed to the writing of the manuscript.


This research was funded by the bilateral French - Lebanese intergovernmental programme PHC CEDRE 2014-2015 Project n° 30902ZB and by the INRA metaprogramme Sustainable Management of Crop Health (SMACH) project LYCOVITIS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Human studies and participants

There was no involvement of human participants and/or animals in the present study.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Foissac
    • 1
  • Fouad Jreijiri
    • 2
  • Pascal Salar
    • 1
  • Samer Wakim
    • 2
  • Jean-Luc Danet
    • 1
  • Elia Choueiri
    • 2
  1. 1.UMR1332 BFP, INRAUniversity of BordeauxVillenave d’OrnonFrance
  2. 2.Department of Plant ProtectionLebanese Agricultural Research InstituteZahléLebanon

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