Detection and prophylaxis of Elm Yellows phytoplasma in France

E. Boudon-Padieu, J. Larrue, D. Clair, J. Hourdel, A. Jeanneau, R. Sforza, E. Collin


Surveys conducted since 1998, showed that symptoms typical of Elm Yellows (EY) were quite frequent in the elm conservatories of Nogent-sur-Vernisson and Guémené- Penfao, France, and on forest trees in several locations in western Europe. Phytoplasmas were detected in symptomatic trees and plants using Polymerase Chain Reaction amplification followed by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analyses of conserved regions of 16S rDNA of phytoplasmas, or of the EY group-specific non ribosomal DNA fragment FD9. Potential vectors were searched among leafhoppers and planthoppers trapped in conservatories and tested for the presence of phytoplasma in their body. Sanitation of multiplication material was experimented using soaking of dormant cuttings and branches in hot water, according to the method devised for destruction of phytoplasma in grapevine multiplication material. Phytoplasmas detected in a number of the elm clones held in the conservatories and in several forest or hedgerow elm trees, showed some diversity, according to restriction analyses of the FD9 fragment. Both American and European types were characterized. Four leaf- and planthopper species were found to carry an EY phytoplasma. Plants grown from cuttings taken from EY-infected clones and soaked in hot water (50 °C, 45 mn) never developed symptoms and tested phytoplasma negative. Most of untreated control plants were all symptomatic and positive. In the future, EY phytoplasma should be carefully checked, especially in sensitive cultivars. More studies of EY phytoplasma variability and potential vecteurs and the assessment of routine use of hot water therapy in multiplication of material should be conducted.


conservation; sanitation; hot water treatment; leafhoppers; planthoppers

Full Text: