A REAL-TIME PCR ASSAY FOR THE DETECTION OF EUROPEAN STONE FRUIT YELLOWS PHYTOPLASMA (ESFYP) IN PLANT PROPAGATION MATERIAL
A severe outbreak of European Stone Fruit Yellows (ESFY) has been reported recently in apricot (Prunus armeniaca) orchards located in the province of Trento (Italy), where partial or total tree dieback caused major economic losses to growers. In order to prevent the disease spreading, the presence of ESFYP-vector, the psyllid Cacopsylla pruni, was monitored together with wild reservoirs of the phytoplasma. Five experimental orchards were planted using ESFYP-free material (cv. Bergeron and Goldrich grafted on Wavit or Myrobolan 29C) to perform epidemiological studies. A multiplex real-time PCR procedure (TaqMan) was set up using two primers/probe combinations for simultaneous detection of ESFYP and host DNA, in order to avoid false negatives due to PCR inhibition. Real-time PCR assays were performed on: propagation material, groups of C. pruni (2 insects per group) and wild individuals of several Prunus spp. collected in areas close to the experimental orchards and individual samples from apricots showing ESFYP-like symptoms. The results obtained indicate that the primers/probe combination used in the real-time PCR procedure allows reliable and specific detection of ESFYP. The pathogen was detected in 93% of the apricot trees showing ESFYP-symptoms and in ~ 33% of the insect groups and in several wild species collected in different locations. No phytoplasmas were found in healthy plants or in propagation material. This result suggests that new infection of trees is presumably due to ESFYP transmission by vectors rather than by contamination of propagation material. Further research is in progress to check the presence of ESFYP-sources in wild plants close to experimental orchards and to monitor pathogens dissemination.
Pignatta, D., Poggi Pollini, C., Giunchedi, L., Ratti, C., Reggiani, N., Forno, F., Mattedi, L., Gobber, M., Miorelli, P. and Ropelato, E. (2008). A REAL-TIME PCR ASSAY FOR THE DETECTION OF EUROPEAN STONE FRUIT YELLOWS PHYTOPLASMA (ESFYP) IN PLANT PROPAGATION MATERIAL. Acta Hortic. 781, 499-504
Prunus armeniaca, diagnostic procedures, multiplex reaction, stone fruit trees phytoplasma, epidemiology