1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To determine the identities of phytoplasma pathogens causing diseases of plants in Puerto Rico and to develop technologies for sensitive and accurate detection and classification of the phytoplasmas.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We will identify, characterize, and classify, according to 16S rDNA RFLP group and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’ species, phytoplasma strains in diseased plants in Puerto Rico. This information will be used by both parties to jointly develop tools and technologies for rapid and accurate detection and identification of these phytoplasmas. The Cooperator will investigate the occurrence, spread, prevalence, and severity of phytoplasmal diseases of plants in Puerto Rico.
In this reporting period, a faculty member and a graduate student from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez spent a period of several weeks in the Beltsville laboratory to become trained in technologies for sensitive detection and accurate identification of phytoplasmas. Subsequently, samples of tissues from plants exhibiting symptoms suspected to be due to infections by phytoplsmas were collected in Puerto Rico and prepared for assays. The laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico was organized for the assays. Nucleotide sequences for primers to be used in sensitive polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) were transferred from the ARS laboratory to the Cooperator, along with protocols for extraction of DNA and for constitution of PCRs. Experiments were initiated to detect and identify phytoplasma pathogens causing diseases of plants in Puerto Rico; the results of these and other experiments will aid the development of improved technologies for sensitive and accurate detection and classification of the phytoplasmas, and will aid in the management of phytoplasmal diseases of important crops and ornamental plants in Puerto Rico and continental U.S.