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Insect Injection and Artificial Feeding Bioassays to Test the Vector Specificity of Flavescence Dorée Phytoplasma

July 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  7
Pages  790 - 796

Alberto Bressan , Denis Clair , Olivier Sémétey , and Elisabeth Boudon-Padieu

First, second, third, and fourth authors: Biologie et écologie des Phytoplasmes, UMR Plante Microbe Environnement, INRA, BP 86510, 21065, Dijon Cedex, France; and first author: Università di Padova, Dipartimento di Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy

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Accepted for publication 2 March 2006.

The specificity of vector transmission of Flavescence dorée phytoplasma (FDP) was tested by injecting FDP, extracted from laboratory-reared infective Euscelidius variegatus, into specimens of 15 other hemipteran insect species collected in European vineyards. Concentrations of viable phytoplasma extracts and latency in vectors were monitored by injection of healthy-reared E. variegatus leafhoppers. Based on these preliminary results, insects were injected by using phytoplasma extracts that ensured the highest rate of FDP acquisition and transmission by E. variegatus. Transmission into an artificial diet through a Parafilm membrane about 3 weeks after insect injection was attempted. FDP-injected insects that belonged to 15 hemipteran species were confined in cages and fed through the membrane for a 4- to 5-day inoculation access period. FDP DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the feeding buffer fed upon by Anoplotettix fuscovenosus, Aphrodes makarovi,E. variegatus, and Euscelis incisus. PCR amplification with specific primers detected FDP DNA in injected insects of all test insect species. Band intensity was positively correlated with the transmissibility of FDP. Transmission of FDP to plants by feeding was confirmed for Anoplotettix fuscovenosus, E. variegatus, and Euscelis incisus, but not for Aphrodes makarovi. Our results suggest that vector competency of FDP is restricted to specimens belonging to the family Cicadellidae, subfamily Deltocephalinae.

Additional keywords: grapevine yellows, Hemiptera, planthoppers.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society