HIGH INFECTION PRESSURE OF ESFY PHYTOPLASMA THREATENS THE CULTIVATION OF STONE FRUIT SPECIES
2008, 9 (4) p. 795-801
Stone fruit species are affected by severe disease caused by European stone fruit yellows phytoplasma (ESFY; ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum’). ESFY phytoplasma is transmitted to the host plants of Prunus spp. by the vector Cacopsylla pruni. The disease is graft-transmissible as well. The occurence of ESFY phytoplasma was monitored from 2004 to 2006 in a mother plant orchard of stone fruit species planted with virus free material in 2001 in the Primorska region of Slovenia. The total of 158 samples of mother plants were analysed in this period. The symptomatic and asymptomatic trees were analysed using molecular methods (PCR or nested-PCR). Among 15.7 % of sampled apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca) in the orchard, ESFY phytoplasma was detected in 70.0 % of samples. In the case of Japanese plum (Prunus salicina) samples were taken from one third of all Japanese plum trees and the presence of ESFY phytoplasma was confi rmed in all samples. In the European plum trees (Prunus domestica) the incidence of phytoplasma was determined in 51.0 % of sampled trees, where the plants in most cases did not show symptoms. ESFY phytoplasma was also detected in peaches and nectarines (Prunus persica) in 13.0 % of sampled trees while no detection of the phytoplasma was confi rmed in the samples of cherry trees (Prunus avium). With the survey performed in a mother plant orchard it was observed that especially young trees did not show typical symptoms and the infection was latent. In the year 2005, ESFY phytoplasma was detected in all tested samples of the vector Cacopsylla pruni captured in the vicinity of the mother plant orchard.