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Sudden Death of Citrus in Brazil: A Graft-Transmissible Bud Union Disease

May 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  5
Pages  453 - 467

M. P. Román , M. Cambra , J. Juárez , P. Moreno , and N. Duran-Vila , Departamento de Protección Vegetal y Biotec-nología, Instituto Valenciano de Investigationes Agrarias, Carretera de Moncada a Náquera km 4.5, 46113-Moncada, Valencia, Spain ; F. A. O. Tanaka , E. Alves , and E. W. Kitajima , NAP/MEPA, Escola Superior de Agricultura “Luiz de Queiroz”, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, CEP 13418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil ; P. T. Yamamoto , R. B. Bassanezi , D. C. Teixeira , W. C. Jesus Junior , A. J. Ayres , and N. Gimenes-Fernandes , Fundecitrus, Av. Dr. Ad-hemar Pereira de Barros, 201, CEP 14807-040, Araraquara, SP, Brazil ; F. Rabenstein , Federal Centre for Breeding Research on Cultivated Plants, Institute of Resistance Research and Pathogen Diagnostics, P.O. Box 1505, D-06435 Aschersleben, Germany ; L. F. Girotto , Sucocítrico Cutrale S/A, via de acesso Eng. Ivo Najm, 3800, CEP 14807-900, Araraquara, SP, Brazil ; and J. M. Bové , Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique and Université de Bordeaux 2, IBVM, Laboratoire de Biologie cellulaire et moléculaire, BP 81, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon cedex, France

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Accepted for publication 9 December 2003.

Citrus Sudden Death (CSD), a new, graft-transmissible disease of sweet orange and mandarin trees grafted on Rangpur lime rootstock, was first seen in 1999 in Brazil, where it is present in the southern Triângulo Mineiro and northwestern São Paulo State. The disease is a serious threat to the citrus industry, as 85% of 200 million sweet orange trees in the State of São Paulo are grafted on Rangpur lime. After showing general decline symptoms, affected trees suddenly collapse and die, in a manner similar to trees grafted on sour orange rootstock when affected by tristeza decline caused by infection with Citrus tristeza virus (CTV). In tristeza-affected trees, the sour orange bark near the bud union undergoes profound anatomical changes. Light and electron microscopic studies showed very similar changes in the Rangpur lime bark below the bud union of CSD-affected trees: size reduction of phloem cells, collapse and necrosis of sieve tubes, overproduction and degradation of phloem, accumulation of nonfunctioning phloem (NFP), and invasion of the cortex by old NFP. In both diseases, the sweet orange bark near the bud union was also affected by necrosis of sieve tubes, and the phloem parenchyma contained characteristic “chromatic” cells. In CSD-affected trees, these cells were seen not only in the sweet orange phloem, but also in the Rangpur lime phloem. Recent observations indicated that CSD affected not only citrus trees grafted on Rangpur lime but also those on Volkamer lemon, with anatomical symptoms similar to those seen in Rangpur lime bark. Trees on alternative rootstocks, such as Cleopatra mandarin and Swingle citrumelo, showed no symptoms of CSD. CSD-affected trees did recover when they were inarched with seedlings of these rootstocks, but not when inarched with Rangpur lime seedlings. These results indicate that CSD is a bud union disease. In addition, the bark of inarched Rangpur lime and Volkamer lemon seedlings showed, near the approach-graft union, the same anatomical alterations as the bud union bark from the Rangpur lime rootstock in CSD-affected trees. The dsRNA patterns from CSD-affected trees and unaffected trees were similar and indicative of CTV. CSD-affected trees did not react by immunoprinting-ELISA using monoclonal antibodies against 11 viruses. No evidence supported the involvement of viroids in CSD. The potential involvement of CTV and other viruses in CSD is discussed.

Additional keywords: Citrus aurantium, C. limonia, C. sinensis, C. volkameriana, pathological anatomy

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society