NATURAL SPREAD AND MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF POSPIVIROIDS INFECTING ORNAMENTALS IN ITALY
M. Luigi, D. Luison, L. Tomassoli, F. Faggioli
In many European countries different species of symptomless ornamental plants were found to be infected by pospiviroids, including Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), a quarantine pathogen. In order to investigate the pospiviroid status of ornamental plants in Italy, a survey was carried out in 2009 and 2010. A total of 111 ornamental plants belonging to nine different solanaceous genera were analyzed. Forty-eight plants were found infected by three pospiviroids. PSTVd was identified in Solanum jasminoides and for the first time in Cestrum spp., Citrus exocortis viroid was found for the first time in Lycianthes rantonnetii and Cestrum spp. and Tomato apical stunt viroid in S. jasminoides. The latter represents the first record of this viroid in Italy. All the pospiviroid isolates detected were characterized molecularly.