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Characteristics of the Spread of Apple Proliferation by Its Vector Cacopsylla picta

December 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  12
Pages  1,471 - 1,480

Barbara Jarausch, Nora Schwind, Annette Fuchs, and Wolfgang Jarausch

RLP AgroScience GmbH, AlPlanta—Institute for Plant Research, Breitenweg 71, D-67435 Neustadt, Germany.

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Accepted for publication 16 July 2011.

The distribution and natural phytoplasma infection of Cacopsylla picta were investigated during a long-term field survey between 2002 and 2009 in commercial and abandoned apple proliferation-infected orchards throughout Germany, northern Switzerland, and eastern France. Comparable population dynamics were described for the different sites whereas considerable variations in the absolute population densities were observed among the years. Individual polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing revealed, for each year, a rather stable natural infection rate with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma mali’ of ≈10% for overwintered adults of C. picta. Both genders were equally highly infected although more females were caught. The overall male/female ratio was 1:1.5. No direct correlation was found between the infection status of the orchard and the infection rate of overwintered C. picta. No influence of agricultural practices was seen. However, a relationship between the incidence of the disease and the vector population density became evident on a regional scale. Successful transmission of ‘Ca. P. mali’ occurred each year with overwintered individuals as well as with new adults. The transmission efficiency varied among the years within 8 to 45% for overwintered adults and 2 to 20% for individuals of the new generation. The load of single C. picta with ‘Ca. P. mali’ was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. High phytoplasma titers were measured in overwintered adults already at their first appearance in the orchards after remigration from their overwintering hosts. Thus, the data indicate the transmission of the disease on a regional scale by remigrant adults of C. picta and at a local scale within the same season by emigrant adults which developed on infected plants.

Additional keywords: epidemiology, gender balance.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society