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Association of Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense with sudden decline of cabbage tree in New Zealand
ANDERSEN Mark T. ; BEEVER Ross E. ; SUTHERLAND Paul W. ; ...
Sudden decline of the New Zealand cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) results in the rapid death of affected plants within months of first external symptoms becoming apparent. Symptoms, which have been observed in saplings and mature trees, include vascular discoloration and leaf yellowing followed by leaf desiccation and eventual plant collapse. Previous work failed to link the disease with any causal agent. A phytoplasma has now been detected in all symptomatic saplings and some symptomatic trees tested, using one-step and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify portions of the 16S rRNA gene. This phytoplasma was not detected in nonsymptomatic plants. Phytoplasma DNA was found in shoot and rhizome apices, leaves and wood tissue of saplings, and in the rhizome apex and trunk tissues of adult trees. Sequencing of the PCR products from selected samples indicated that the phytoplasma is Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense. Phytoplasma cells were detected by transmission electron microscopy in phloem sieve tubes of the rhizomes of affected saplings. One sapling with early symptoms recovered after injection with tetracycline antibiotic, but two saplings with advanced symptoms did not recover. It is concluded that Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense is present in symptomatic plants and is the cause of sudden decline.
American Phytopathological Society
ISSN : 0191-2917 CODEN : PLDIDE
Plant disease A. 2001, vol. 85, n° 5, pp. 462-469 [bibl. : 29 ref.]
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