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First Report of Aster Yellow Phytoplasmas (‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’) in Canadian Grapevines.

Olivier, C.Y., Lowery, D.T., Stobbs, L.W., Vincent, C., Galka, B., Saguez, J., Bittner, L.A., Johnson, R., Rott, M., Masters, C., and Green, M. (2009). "First Report of Aster Yellow Phytoplasmas (‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’) in Canadian Grapevines.", Plant Disease, 93(6), pp. 669. doi : 10.1094/PDIS-93-6-0669A  Access to full text

Abstract

In North America, elm yellows, aster yellows (AY), and X-disease phytoplasmas have been detected in American grapevines (1), and recently, Bois noir was detected in Canadian vineyards from British Columbia (BC) and Ontario (ON) (2). Typical symptoms of grapevine yellows (GY) include leaf rolling and chlorosis, uneven or total lack of lignification of canes, flower abortion or berry withering, and stunting. In 2006 and 2007, independent surveys were conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to detect phytoplasmas in Canadian vineyards containing different cultivars in BC, ON, Québec (QC), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The CFIA collected and tested 651 fresh leaf samples from recently imported grapevines and older grapevines in the same or neighboring blocks displaying symptoms typical of those associated with disease caused by phytoplasmas. Many vineyards were surveyed only once. AAFC collected and tested 3,485 samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic grapevines from established vineyards in ON, BC, and QC. The same vineyards were sampled in ON and BC both years; QC vineyards were only sampled in 2007. AAFC-collected leaf samples were freeze dried and stored at -20°C before processing. CFIA samples were tested by a modified real-time PCR assay and TaqMan probe targeting the 16S ribosomal RNA gene that detects a wide range of known phytoplasmas (2). Positive samples were confirmed by conventional PCR using the phytoplasma-specific primers P1/P7 (3) and the resulting ~1,800-bp fragment was cloned and sequenced as previously described (2). DNA extracted by AAFC was amplified by nested PCR technology with universal phytoplasma specific primer pairs P1/P6 and R16R2/R16F2 (3) and the resulting 1,200-bp fragment was cloned and sequenced. Two plants, one located in ON in 2006 and the other in BC in 2007, were found to be infected with an AY-like phytoplasma by the CFIA. The phytoplasmas detected in both infected plants had a 99.9% nt sequence identity with AY phytoplasma sequences from GenBank (Accession Nos. AF222063 and AY665676, respectively), with the BC isolate also showing 100% identity to a strain of AY, ash witches'-broom phytoplasma (GenBank Accession No. AY566302). AAFC detected phytoplasma DNA in both years in a total of 17 symptomatic plants and 21 asymptomatic plants from different vine varieties in ON, BC, and QC. Positive samples were found to have a 99.0% nt sequence identity to AY subgroup 16SrI-A (GenBank Accession No. AY180956). Sequences were exchanged for confirmation of phytoplasma identity and were deposited in Genbank under Accession Nos. FJ659844 and FJ824597. Phytoplasma strains were identified for all plants in which phytoplasmas were detected. Results show that AY is present in vineyards in the provinces of ON, BC, and QC. To our knowledge, this is the first report of AY being detected in grapevines in Canada.

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