First report of a 16SrII ('Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia') group phytoplasma associated with a bunchy-top disease of papaya in Cuba


Phytoplasmas of the 16SrII and 16SrXII groups were first reported to cause mosaic, yellow crinkle and dieback of pawpaws in Australia. In Havana, Cuba, papaya bunchy-top like-disease (PBT-like) is associated with Candidatus Phytoplasma caricae belonging to a new 16SrXVII group. During September-October 2006, typical PBT-like symptoms were seen extensively in pawpaw plantations of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Camagüey and Holguin, eastern Cuba. Leaf samples from 177 plants showing PBT-like symptoms, 53 apparently healthy (symptomless) and 67 Empoasca spp. were collected and tested for the presence of phytoplasmas. A 1250 bp fragment was amplified from each of 171 plants with symptoms, 63 Empoasca spp., but none of the symptomless plants. There was no sign of the new Candidatus Phytoplasma caricae, previously identified in Havana. This is thought to be the first record of a 16SrII phytoplasma in pawpaw and in a putative Empoasca spp. vector from Cuba, and indicates this is the most likely phytoplasma as the causal agent of PBT-like disease


Arocha, Y.; Piñol, B.; Picornell, B.; Almeida, R.; Jones, P. First report of a 16SrII (‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’) group phytoplasma associated with a bunchy-top disease of papaya in Cuba. Plant Pathology (2006) 55 (6) 821-821. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2006.01480.x]

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