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Candidatus (Ca.) phytoplasma asteris subgroups display distinct disease progression dynamics during the carrot growing season

By Justin Clements, Benjamin Z. Bradford, Marjorie Garcia, Shannon Piper, Weijie Huang, Agnieszka Zwolinska, Kurt Lamour, Saskia Hogenhout, Russell L. Groves

Posted 17 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.17.301150

Aster Yellows phytoplasma (AYp; Candidatus (Ca.) Phytoplasma asteris) is an obligate bacterial pathogen that is the causative agent of multiple diseases in herbaceous plants. While this phytoplasma has been examined in depth for its disease characteristics, knowledge about the spatial and temporal dynamics of pathogen spread is lacking. The phytoplasma is found in plant’s phloem and is vectored by leafhoppers (Cicadellidae: Hemiptera), including the aster leafhopper, Macrosteles quadrilineatus Forbes. The aster leafhopper is a migratory insect pest that overwinters in the southern United States, and historical data suggest these insects migrate from southern overwintering locations to northern latitudes annually, transmitting and driving phytoplasma infection rates as they migrate. A more in-depth understanding of the spatial, temporal and genetic determinants of Aster Yellows disease progress will lead to better integrated pest management strategies for Aster Yellows disease control. Carrot, Daucus carota L., plots were established at two planting densities in central Wisconsin and monitored during the 2018 growing season for Aster Yellows disease progression. Symptomatic carrots were sampled and assayed for the presence of the Aster Yellows phytoplasma. Aster Yellows disease progression was determined to be significantly associated with calendar date, crop density, location within the field, and phytoplasma subgroup.

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