Phytoplasma pp 47-59 | Cite as

Insect Maintenance and Transmission

  • Heather KingdomEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 938)


Phytoplasmas are plant pathogens of huge economic importance due to responsibility for crop yield losses worldwide. Institutions around the world are trying to understand and control this yield loss at a time when food security is high on government agendas. In order to fully understand the mechanisms of phytoplasma infection and spread, more insect vector and phytoplasma colonies will need to be established for research worldwide. Rearing and study of these colonies is essential in the research and development of phytoplasma control measures. This chapter highlights general materials and methods for raising insect vector colonies and maintenance of phytoplasmas. Specific methods of rearing the maize leafhopper and maize bushy stunt phytoplasma and the aster leafhopper and aster yellows phytoplasma strain witches’ broom are also included.

Key words

Dalbulus maidis Insect cages Insect colonies Macrosteles quadrilineatus Rearing leafhoppers Rearing planthoppers Rearing psyllids 



I acknowledge Angela Strock (Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, Ohio State University, OH 44691) and El-Desouky Ammar (Subtropical Insects Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, FL. 34945) for tuition in maintenance and handling of leafhoppers, and Insectary staff and Dr Saskia Hogenhout (John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, U.K.) for tuition and guidance. The project was funded by a BBSRC studentship.


  1. 1.
    Sugio A et al (2011) Phytoplasma protein effector SAP11 enhances insect vector reproduction by directly manipulating plant development and defense hormone biosynthesis. PNAS USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105664108
  2. 2.
    Murral DJ et al (1996) Effects of temperature and vector age on transmission of two Ohio stains of aster yellows phytoplasma by the aster leafhopper (Homoptera: Cicadellidae). J Econ Entomol 89:1223–1232Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Galetto L et al (2009) Variation in vector competency depends on chrysanthemum yellows phytoplasma distribution within Euscelidius variegatus. Entomol Exp Appl 131:200–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Marzachí C, Bosco D (2005) Relative quantification of chrysanthemum yellows (16Sr I) phytoplasma in its plant and insect host using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Mol Biotechnol 30:117–127PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Beanland L et al (2000) Influence of aster yellows phytplasma on the fitness of aster leafhopper (Homoptera: Cicadellidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 93:271–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bressan A et al (2005) Effects of two strains of Flavescence dorée phytoplasma on the survival and fecundity of experimental leafhopper vector Euscelidius variegatus Kirschbaum. J Invertebr Pathol 89:144–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Malagnini V et al (2010) A study of the effects of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma mali’ on psyllid Cacopsylla melanoneura (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). J Invertebr Pathol 103:65–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tedeschi R, Bosco D, Alma A (2002) Population dynamics of Cacopsylla melanoneura (Homoptera: Psyllidae), a vector of apple proliferation phytoplasma in northwestern Italy. J Econ Entomol 95:544–551PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tedeschi R, Alma A (2004) Transmission of apple proliferation phytoplasma by Cacopsylla melanoneura (Homoptera: Psyllidae). J Econ Entomol 97:8–13PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hughes GL et al (2008) In vitro rearing of Perkinsiella saccharicida and the use of leaf segments to assay Fiji disease virus transmission. Phytopathology 98:810–814PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Maramorosch K (1999) Leafhopper and planthopper rearing. In: Maramorosch K, Mahmood F (eds) Maintenance of human, animal, and plant pathogen vectors. Science Publishers, Enfield, pp 199–211Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ammar E-D, Hall DG (2011) A new method for short-term rearing of citrus psyllids (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and for collecting their honeydew excretions. Fla Entomol 94:340–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Skelley LH, Hoy MA (2004) A synchronous rearing method for the Asian citrus psyllid and its parasitoids in quarantine. Biol Control 29:14–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang J et al (2004) Molecular and symptom analyses of phytoplasma strains from lettuce reveal a diverse population. Phytopathology 94:842–849PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ebbert MA, Nault LR (2001) Survival of Dalbulus leafhopper vectors improves after exposure to maize stunting pathogens. Entomol Exp Appl 100:311–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    UK Department of Food and Rural Affairs (2009) Explanatory leaflet on the issue of licences for the import, movement and keeping of prohibited plants, plant material, plant pests, soil and growing medium. Accessed 11 Nov 2011
  17. 17.
    Nault LR, Ammar ED (1989) Leafhopper and planthopper transmission of plant viruses. Annu Rev Entomol 34:503–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Innes Centre, Norwich Research ParkNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations