Liberibacter solanacearum

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symptoms of zebra chip disease on potato plant (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University
Source: IPM Images

Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum Liefting et al. 2009

The bacterium is unculturable, phloem-limited and Gram-negative. It infects potatoes causing the zebra chip disease, as well as various other crops like tomatoes, carrots and celery. Several haplotypes of the bacterium are known (see below) which differ in their host range, vector species and geographical distribution. Potato and tomato plants show chlorosis, leaf curling, dieback and decline.

In potatoes, the disease reduces both yield and quality of the crops. Potato chips made from infected tubers show dark stripes after frying. This is caused by starch in the tubers being converted into sugar as part of the disease process. The sugar then causes black deposits (caramelize) during frying. Although consumption of these potatoes does not pose any health risks, the potatoes have an unusual taste and are no longer marketable. In New Zealand the disease causes economic losses on tomatoes.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Zebra chip-Krankheit
• English: zebra chip disease
• Español: papa manchada
• Français: maladie de la chips zébrée

The disease has been reported since the early 1990s in Central America and Mexico. It is found in the United States since 2000 and in New Zealand since 2008. Serious disease outbreaks have been reported from Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, and New Mexico between 2004 and 2007 and from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho in 2011. For management, insecticide sprays are used against the vector populations.

The bacterium is transmitted by psyllids of the genera Bactericera and Trioza. Haplotypes A and B is transmitted by the potato/tomato psyllid, the most important vector, haplotype C by the carrot psyllid and haplotype D and E by Bactericera trigonica.

The following haplotypes have been described:
LsoA - infecting potatoes and other Solanaceae in western North America and New Zealand
LsoB - on potatoes in Mexico and Texas
LsoC - infecting carrots in northern Europe (Finland, Norway and Sweden)
LsoD - on carrots and other Apiaceae in the Mediterranean region and the Canary Islands
LsoE - on carrots and other Apiaceae in the Mediterranean region

Liberibacter psyllaurous

For a review see Rush et al., 2015.