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Epidemiology of Flavescence Dorée in Vineyards in Northwestern Italy

November 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  11
Pages  1,422 - 1,427

C. Morone, M. Boveri, S. Giosuè, P. Gotta, V. Rossi, I. Scapin, and C. Marzachì

First, fourth, and sixth authors: Regione Piemonte, Settore Fitosanitario, Via Livorno, 60, I-10144 Torino, Italy; second author: Cadir-Lab, Strada Alessandria, 13, I-15044 Quargnento (AL), Italy; third and fifth authors: Istituto di Entomologia e Patologia vegetale - Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84 -- I-29100 Piacenza, Italy; and seventh author: Istituto di Virologia vegetale, CNR, Strada delle Cacce, 73, I-10135 Torino, Italy.

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Accepted for publication 6 June 2007.

A serious outbreak of flavescence dorée (FD) was reported in Piemonte, northwestern Italy, in 1998, and since then, the disease has compromised the economy of this traditional wine-growing area, even following the application of compulsory insecticide treatments to control Scaphoideus titanus, the vector of the causal phytoplasma. Affected vines show severe symptoms, varying according to the cultivar, and are rogued to reduce disease spread. Following winter and pruning, a previously affected vine may appear symptomless and free of phytoplasmas in its aerial as well as its root system, even by nested-polymerase chain reaction assays. Such plants are considered to be “recovered”. Since 1998 homogenous data on the incidence of newly infected, healthy, or recovered plants productivity, presence of vectors, and treatment schedules have been collected in seven severely affected vineyards of southern Piemonte for 5 years (1999 to 2003). Infectivity and recovery rates were also calculated each year. From 1999 to 2003, the average number of healthy plants decreased and the numbers of recovered plants and those with symptoms increased. Productivity of recovered vines, although lower than that of healthy ones, was always higher than that of vines with symptoms and was not influenced by the time elapsed from date of recovery. The relationships between the ln-transformed number of vectors trapped in the vineyards the previous year and the infection and the recovery rates were fitted by an exponential (R2 = 0.95) and an asymptotic (R2 = 0.93) model, respectively.

Additional keywords:grapevine, phytoplasma, Scaphoideus titanus.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society