Annals of Applied Biology (2018) 173, 55-62

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A. Alma, F. Lessio, E. Gonella, L. Picciau, M. Mandrioli and F. Tota (2018)
New insights in phytoplasma-vector interaction: acquisition and inoculation of flavescence dorée phytoplasma by Scaphoideus titanus adults in a short window of time
Annals of Applied Biology 173 (1), 55-62
Abstract: The leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus is able to transmit 16SrV phytoplasmas agents of grapevine's flavescence dorée (FD) within 30–45 days, following an acquisition access period (AAP) of a few days feeding on infected plants as a nymph, a latency period (LP) of 3–5 weeks becoming meanwhile an adult, and an inoculation access period (IAP) of a few days on healthy plants. However, several aspects of FD epidemiology suggest how the whole transmission process may take less time, and may start directly with adults of the insect vector. Transmission experiments have been set up under lab condition. Phytoplasma-free S. titanus adults were placed on broad bean (BB) plants (Vicia faba) infected by FD-C (16SrV-C) phytoplasmas for an AAP = 7 days. Afterwards, they were immediately moved onto healthy BB for IAP, which were changed every 7 days, obtaining three timings of inoculation: IAP 1, IAP 2 and IAP 3, lasting 7, 14 and 21 days from the end of AAP, respectively. DNA was extracted from plants and insects, and PCR tests were performed to identify FD phytoplasmas. Insects were dissected and fluorescence in situ hybridisation was made to detect the presence of phytoplasmas in midguts and salivary glands. The rate of infection in insects ranged 46–68% without significant differences among IAPs. Inoculation in plants succeeded in all IAPs, at a rate of 16–23% (no significant differences). Phytoplasma load was significantly higher in IAP 3 than IAP 1–2 for both plants and insects. Phytoplasmas were identified both in midgut and salivary glands of S. titanus at all IAP times. The possible implications of these results in the epidemiology of flavescence dorée are discussed.
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Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Alberto Alma

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
transmission/dispersal of plant diseases


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Scaphoideus titanus Grapevine (Vitis)
Phytoplasma vitis Grapevine (Vitis)