Phytoplasma asteris

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Phyllody caused by aster yellows Phytoplasma on a goldenrod (Solidago).
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris Lee et al., 2004 - (aster yellows phytoplasma)

This phytoplasma belongs to subgroup B of the 16SrI phytoplasma group and causes serious diseases of various crops. It is primarily transmitted by the aster leafhopper, Macrosteles quadrilineatus, in contrast to the western aster yellows disease (subgroup 16SrIA) which has a large variety of insect vectors. Phytoplasmas of the 16SrIB subgroup have a world-wide distribution and infect plants from many families. The symptoms caused by the phytoplasma include virescence (greening of flower petals) and phyllody (development of floral parts into leaf-like structures). In addition, infected plants can show excessive branching, stunting, witches’-broom symptoms and other malformations. Economic losses have been mainly reported from vegetable crops like carrots or lettuce. Short distance dispersal of the phytoplasma occurs through the leafhopper vector, long distance dispersal through infected planting materials.

Vernacular names
• English: aster yellows phytoplasma
onion yellows phytoplasma
Aster yellows witches'-broom phytoplasma
• Français: jaunisse de l'aster

The reference strain is OAYT, collected from Oenothera hookeri in Michigan, U.S.A. While in the original description (Lee et al., 2004) Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris was regarded to be a representative of the whole 16SrI phytoplasma group, more recent publications tend to restrict the name to subgroup 16SrIB phytoplasmas. The genome size has been determined as 860 kb for strain OY-M and 706 kb for strain AYWB.