FIRST REPORT OF A CANDIDATUS PHYTOPLASMA ASTERIS RELATED STRAIN ASSOCIATED WITH CABBAGE STUNTING IN GREECE

S. Gkavaleka, K. Efthimiou, L. Lotos, N.I. Katis

Abstract


Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is one of the most im- portant vegetable crops in Greece grown on an area of 7,006 ha with a production of 188,000 tons (FAOSTAT, 2009). During a survey conducted on winter 2009 in northern Greece for pathogens infecting plant species of the Brassicaceae family, two cabbage plants showing phytoplasma-like symptoms were collect- ed near the village of Vasilika-Thessaloniki (40o28’N 23o08’E). These plants exhibited reduction of leaf size (little leaf), opening of the head, proliferation and generalized stunting. In order to in- vestigate the possibility of a phytoplasma infection, DNA was ex- tracted from leaf samples of two symptomatic and two apparently healthy plants according to the in house protocol developed by Psifidi et al. (2010). A nested PCR was done using two universal primer sets specific to the phytoplasma 16S rRNA gene: P1/P7 (Schneider et al., 1995) followed by R16F2n/R16R2 (Gundersen and Lee, 1996). The expected ca. 1200 bp amplicon was obtained from both symptomatic cabbage plants but not from the symp- tomless ones. One of the two amplicons was purified and directly sequenced. BLAST comparisons of the partial 16S rRNA se- quence revealed 99% identity with the homologous sequence from Ca. Phytoplasma asteris reference strain (M30790). The ob- tained sequence was deposited in EMBL-EBI database (accession No. HE601634). In silico RFLP analysis (Zhao et al., 2009) classi- fied the isolate in the 16SrI-B subgroup. Ca. Phytoplama asteris is an important pathogen of many herbaceous and woody plants; it has a worldwide distribution and has been previously associated with various diseases of several Brassicaceae plant species. How- ever this is, to our knowledge, the first record of a cabbage dis- ease associated with Ca. Phytoplasma asteris in Greece.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4454/JPP.V95I4SUP.010

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