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The phytoplasmas – a unique group of insect-transmitted plant-pathogenic bacteria

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Phytoplasmas are phloem-limited microbial plant pathogens that have been found associated with diseases in over 200 economically important plants. Symptoms vary depending on the host, phytoplasma strain and environmental factors, and often include yellow/purple discolouration of leaves and shoots, virescence (greening of petals), phyllody (conversion of floral organs into leaf-like structures), proliferation of shoots, witches' broom, stunting, general decline and in some cases plant death. Amongst the more economically important diseases are the aster yellows type which occur on a wide range of crops, such as potatoes, carrots, maize, tomatoes, onions and flowers worldwide, the peach diseases of the US, the apple proliferation / pear decline diseases of Europe including the UK, the sugarcane and grass diseases such as rice yellow dwarf, sugarcane whiteleaf and napier grass stunt that occur in East Africa and Asia, the potato witches' broom and maize bushy stunt diseases of Central and South America, and the coconut lethal yellowing and lethal yellowing-like diseases that occur in the Caribbean, Central America and throughout coconut growing regions of Africa. A look at Journals such as 'New Disease Reports' shows that new phytoplasma diseases are constantly emerging in new hosts and at new locations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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