Phytoplasma diseases on potatoes are not well understood and have gone largely undetected in China. During the growing seasons of 2005 through 2010, potato disease surveys were conducted in seed and commercial fields in Yunnan Province. Samples were also harvested from three seed potato production areas in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 2007 and 2010. Disease incidence in these fields ranged from 15 to 85%. Plants displayed symptoms of branch proliferation, aerial tuber formation, upward rolling yellowish and purplish apical leaves, and extremely short stolen or chain tubers (irregular-shaped tubers). Total DNA from 250 samples was extracted from the leaves, stems, and roots of symptomatic and asymptomatic plants. A nested PCR was performed by using primer pair P1/P7 followed by R16F2n/R16R2 to detect the presence of phytoplasmas (1,3). An approximate 1.2-kb PCR product was amplified from symptomatic plants but not from asymptomatic plants. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns were analyzed by digesting the 1.2-kb amplicon singly with restriction enzymes AluI, BfaI, MseI, HhaI, HinfI, HpaII, KpnI, RsaI, and TaqI. The RFLP patterns of 120 of the 250 samples matched patterns of the clover proliferation (CP) group (16SrVI) subgroup A (16SrVI-A) phytoplasma (1). In addition, the nested PCR product of P1A/P7A (2) following P1/P7 amplification was cloned and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. HQ609490). Nucleotide sequences were analyzed by iPhyClassifier software (4), confirming the relationship of this phytoplasma to ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii’ with RFLP patterns identical to group 16SrVI-A. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the CP group phytoplasmas associated with purple top diseased potatoes in China.
References: (1) I.-M. Lee et al. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 48:1153, 1998. (2) I.-M. Lee et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol 54:337, 2004. (3) C. D. Smart et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62:2988, 1996. (4) Y. Zhao et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 59:2582, 2009.
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