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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354455

Research Project: Genome-Based Strategies and Physiological Biomarkers for Detection and Identification of plant Pathogenic Phytoplasmas and Spiroplasmas

Location: Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory

Title: Catharanthus roseus naturally infected with diverse phytoplasmas in Costa Rica

item VILLALOBOS, WILLIAM - Universidad De Costa Rica
item Bottner, Kristi
item Lee, Ing Ming
item ALBERTAZZI-CASTRO, FEDERICO - Universidad De Costa Rica
item MONTERO-ASTUA, MAURICIO - Universidad De Costa Rica
item COTO, TERESITA - Universidad De Costa Rica
item SANDOVAL, IZAYANA - Universidad De Costa Rica
item GARITA, LAURA - Universidad De Costa Rica
item MOREIRA, LISELA - Universidad De Costa Rica

Submitted to: Journal of Tropical Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2018
Publication Date: 1/30/2019
Citation: Villalobos, W., Bottner-Parker, K.D., Lee, I., Albertazzi-Castro, F., Montero-Astua, M., Coto, T., Sandoval, I., Garita, L., Moreira, L. 2019. Catharanthus roseus naturally infected with diverse phytoplasmas in Costa Rica. Journal of Tropical Biology. 67:(1) pp. 321-336.

Interpretive Summary: Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is an important ornamental plant widely grown in sub-tropical regions. Natural infections of C. roseus plants by diverse phytoplasma strains are common and were reported in many countries, except Costa Rica. Phytoplasmas are small, cell wall-less bacteria that cannot be cultured readily in cell-free media. In this work, we conducted a widespread survey throughout the seven provinces of Costa Rica and by molecular methods, we identified phytoplasmas associated with six subgroups (16SrI-B, 16SrI-P, 16SrIII-F, 16SrIX-F, 16SrXIII-A, and 16SrXV-B) within five groups. This is the first report of a group 16SrXIII phytoplasma in Costa Rica. This work will aid APHIS and other quarantine agencies to prevent international spread of the phytoplasma.

Technical Abstract: A survey on diseased Catharanthus roseus plants that exhibited symptoms reminiscent of phytoplasma infection throughout Costa Rica was conducted from 2012 to 2016. A total of 73 plants were collected showing symptoms including virescence, phyllody, axillary proliferation, little leaf, leaf malformation, chlorosis and yellowing. All samples were tested by nested PCR using phytoplasma universal and specific primer pairs. Phytoplasma infection was detected in 60 of the plants collected. Phytoplasmas of six subgroups belonging to 16Sr- I, -III, -IX, -XIII and -XV groups were identified based on sequencing and in silico RFLP analyses. This work reports the first evidence of phytoplasmas infecting this host in six of the seven provinces in Costa Rica. Group 16SrXIII phytoplasma was detected for the first time in this country. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of natural infection of C. roseus with phytoplasma subgroups 16SrI-B, 16SrI-P, 16SrIII-F, 16SrIX-F, 16SrXIII-A, and 16SrXV-B in Costa Rica and Central America.