Joseph E. Munyaneza,
Venkatesan G. Sengoda,
Jeremy L. Buchman, and
Tonja W. Fisher, USDA-ARS, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, 5230 Konnowac Pass Road, Wapato, WA 98951
Temperature has been shown to have a significant effect on development of liberibacter species associated with citrus Huanglongbing disease. ‘Candidatus Liberibacter africanus’ and ‘Ca. L. americanus’ are both heat sensitive, whereas ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ is heat tolerant. The recently described ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ is associated with zebra chip (ZC), a newly emerging and economically important disease of potato worldwide. This psyllid-transmitted liberibacter species severely affects several other solanaceous crops and carrot. Experiments were conducted to evaluate effects of temperature on development of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and ZC disease. Potato plants were inoculated with ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ by briefly exposing them to liberibacter-infective potato psyllids at various temperatures under laboratory conditions. Following insect exposure, the plants were maintained at selected temperature regimes in growth chambers, monitored for ZC symptom development, and later tested for liberibacter by polymerase chain reaction to confirm infection. Results indicated that temperatures below 17°C appear to slow development of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ and ZC symptoms, whereas temperatures above 32°C are detrimental to this liberibacter. Compared to Huanglongbing liberibacters, ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ appears heat sensitive. The sensitivity of this bacterium and its insect vector to temperature may partially explain incidence, severity, and distribution of ZC in affected regions.