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Spatial and Temporal Analyses of Citrus Sudden Death as a Tool to Generate Hypotheses Concerning Its Etiology

April 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  4
Pages  502 - 512

Renato B. Bassanezi , Armando Bergamin Filho , Lilian Amorim , Nelson Gimenes-Fernandes , Tim R. Gottwald , and Joseph M. Bové

First and fourth authors: Fundecitrus, Av. Dr. Adhemar P. de Barros, 201, CEP 14807-040, Araraquara, SP, Brazil; second and third authors: Departamento de Entomologia, Fitopatologia e Zoologia Agrícola, Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Universidade de São Paulo, CEP 13418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil; fifth author: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, USHRL, 2001 South Rock Rd., Fort Pierce, FL 34945; and sixth author: Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomic, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon, France

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Accepted for publication 9 November 2002.

Citrus sudden death (CSD), a new disease of unknown etiology that affects sweet orange grafted on Rangpur lime, was visually monitored for 14 months in 41 groves in Brazil. Ordinary runs analysis of CSD-symptomatic trees indicated a departure from randomness of symptomatic trees status among immediately adjacent trees mainly within rows. The binomial index of dispersion (D) and the intraclass correlation (k) for various quadrat sizes suggested aggregation of CSD-symptomatic trees for almost all plots within the quadrat sizes tested. Estimated parameters of the binary form of Taylor's power law provided an overall measure of aggregation of CSD-symptomatic trees for all quadrat sizes tested. Aggregation in each plot was dependent on disease incidence. Spatial autocorrelation analysis of proximity patterns suggested that aggregation often existed among quadrats of various sizes up to three lag distances; however, significant lag positions discontinuous from main proximity patterns were rare, indicating a lack of spatial association among discrete foci. Some asymmetry was also detected for some spatial autocorrelation proximity patterns, indicating that within-row versus across-row distributions are not necessarily equivalent. These results were interpreted to mean that the cause of the disease was most likely biotic and its dissemination was common within a local area of influence that extended to approximately six trees in all directions, including adjacent trees. Where asymmetry was indicated, this area of influence was somewhat elliptical. Longer-distance patterns were not detected within the confines of the plot sizes tested. Annual rates of CSD progress based on the Gompertz model ranged from 0.37 to 2.02. Numerous similarities were found between the spatial patterns of CSD and Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) described in the literature, both in the presence of the aphid vector, Toxoptera citricida. CSD differs from CTV in that symptoms occur in sweet orange grafted on Rangpur lime. Based on the symptoms of CSD and on its spatial and temporal patterns, our hypothesis is that CSD may be caused by a similar but undescribed pathogen such as a virus and probably vectored by insects such as aphids by similar spatial processes to those affecting CTV.

Additional keywords: Aphis gossypii, binomial variance, Citrus limonia, C. sinensis, disease spread.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2003