Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2010
Publication Date: September 15, 2010
Citation: Munyaneza, J.E. 2010. Emerging leafhopper-transmitted phytoplasma diseases of potato. Southwestern Entomologist. 35(3):451-456. Interpretive Summary: In recent years, leafhopper-transmitted phytoplasma diseases of potato have become increasingly important in many potato production areas in U.S. and other countries. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory identified phytoplasmas and potential insect vectors associated with recent outbreaks of purple top disease in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon that caused significant potato yield losses and a reduction in tuber and seed quality. It was determined that BLTVA phytoplasma is the pathogen causing the disease and is vectored to potato by the beet leafhopper. Information from these studies will help potato producers in the Pacific Northwest reduce damage caused by this disease by effectively controlling the beet leafhopper.
Technical Abstract: In recent years, leafhopper-transmitted phytoplasma diseases of potato have become increasingly important in many production areas worldwide. Serious epidemics of purple top disease of potato, caused by phytoplasma infections, have occurred in North and Central America and Central and Eastern Europe. Countries severely affected by phytoplasma diseases of potato include the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Russia, and Romania. These emerging potato diseases are causing significant yield losses and a reduction in tuber and seed quality. Accurate identification of phytoplasmas involved in the disease and their insect vectors, in addition to a better understanding of the disease epidemiology and vector population dynamics, are essential to effective management of phytoplasma diseases in potatoes. A case study of identification, epidemiology, and management of leafhopper-transmitted phytoplasma disease of potatoes in the Pacific Northwest of the United States is presented herein.