Haplotypes of the Potato Psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, on the Wild Host Plant, Solanum dulcamara, in the Pacific Northwestern United States


‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) is a bacterium that infects solanaceous crops and causes plant decline and yield losses, especially in potato and tomato. Lso is transmitted to these hosts by the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli Sulc) vector. B. cockerelli host plants are not limited to crop plants, but also include many wild, solanaceous weeds. These wild hosts could potentially impact overwintering and breeding of the psyllids and serve as reservoirs for Lso. In the Pacific Northwestern United States, B. cockerelli was recently reported to overwinter on bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara L.). The present study utilized high resolution melting analysis of the B. cockerelli mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene to assess the psyllid populations occurring on S. dulcamara during the summer and winter months in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. This technique has previously been used to analyze the cytochrome c oxidase I gene of B. cockerelli, and has identified four psyllid haplotypes. Lso infection was also determined for the psyllids collected from S. dulcamara. During both the summer and the winter months in the Pacific Northwest, the Northwestern psyllid haplotype was the predominant population found living on S. dulcamara. However, low levels of the Western psyllid population were also present in Washington and Oregon during the same period. No overwintering psyllids tested were Lso-infected, suggesting that these populations do not pose an imminent threat of Lso transmission to newly emerging potatoes and other solanaceous crops in the region, unless a source of Lso becomes available.


‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ (Lso) es una bacteria que infecta a cultivos de solanáceas y causa abatimiento y pérdida de cosechas, especialmente en papa y tomate. Lso se transmite a estos hospedantes por el vector psílido de la papa (Bactericera cockerelli Sulc). Las plantas hospederas de B. cockerelli no se limitan a especies cultivadas, sino que también incluyen muchas malezas silvestres solanáceas. Estas hospedantes silvestres pudieran impactar potencialmente la invernación y apareamiento de los psílidos y servir como reservorios para Lso. En el Noroeste del Pacífico de los Estados Unidos de América se ha reportado recientemente a B. cockerelli invernando en la planta “uva del diablo”, “dulcamara” o “matagallinas” (Solanum dulcamara L.). En el presente estudio se utilizó un análisis de fusión de alta resolución del gen mitocondrial del citocromo c oxidasa de B. cockerelli para analizar las poblaciones del psílido que se presentan en S. dulcamara durante los meses del verano e invierno en Washington, Oregon y Idaho. Se ha utilizado previamente esta técnica para analizar el gen mencionado, y ha identificado cuatro haplotipos del psílido. También se determinó la infección por Lso en psílidos colectados de S. dulcamara. Durante los meses de verano e invierno en el Pacífico del Noroeste, el haplotipo del psílido del Noroeste era la población dominante que se encontraba viviendo en S. dulcamara. No obstante, también se encontraba, aunque en bajos niveles de la población, el psílido del Oeste en Washington y Oregon durante el mismo período. Psílidos no invernantes probados estaban infectados de Lso, sugiriendo que estas poblaciones no representan una amenaza inminente de transmisión de Lso a papas de nueva emergencia y a otros cultivos de solanáceas en la región, a menos que una fuente de Lso estuviera disponible.

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We thank Andrew Jensen for kindly providing us with the Idaho potato psyllids. Additionally, we would like to thank Millie Heidt, Francisco de la Rosa, and Sawyer Delp for their technical assistance. Financial support for this research was provided by the Washington State Potato Commission, the USDA-SCRI Project # 2009-51181-20176 and the USDA-RAMP Project # 2009-51101-05892. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Correspondence to James M. Crosslin.

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Swisher, K.D., Sengoda, V.G., Dixon, J. et al. Haplotypes of the Potato Psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, on the Wild Host Plant, Solanum dulcamara, in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Am. J. Potato Res. 90, 570–577 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12230-013-9330-3

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  • Potato diseases
  • Liberibacter
  • Psyllid haplotypes
  • Nightshade