Project Number: 2092-22000-021-04-S
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 30, 2013
End Date: Jul 29, 2018
Objective of this research is to determine if the potato psyllid induces zebra chip (ZC) potato disease by transmitting pathogens or just delivering toxins to potato plants.
Psyllids and ZC symptomatic plants and tubers will be collected and tested for suspected pathogens using PCR and ELISA; pathogens to be tested will include phytoplasmas, viruses, and bacteris. ZC plants will be grafted onto healthy tomato and potato plants and observed for symptoms. If ZC symptoms do appear on grafted plants, this would aupport the idea that a pathogen is involved in the disease. The ZC-grafter symptomatic plants will be tested for putative ZC pathogens. To investigate potential transmission of toxins by the psyllid, selected numbers of nymphs and adults will be allowed to feed on healthy plants briefty, during selected periods of time, and permanently. The plants will be maintained and observed for ZC symptom expression or remission. Psyllids will be dissected and their salivary glands extracted. The salivery glands will be ground and the crude extract injected into healthy plants; the plants will be maintained and observed for ZC symptoms. Moreover, the gland extracts will be analyzed for proteins using various chemical separation methods. The separated protein fractions will be tested as above and those that produce ZC symptoms will be analyzed to identify individual components responsible for the disease transmission.