Update: New Pest & Disease Records (17 Sep 14)

A new species of leafhopper has been identified in Brazil © Steven Severinghaus (CC BY-NC-SA)
A new species of leafhopper has been identified in Brazil © Steven Severinghaus (CC BY-NC-SA)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the  first report of Fusarium wilt in blueberry caused by Fusarium oxysporum in China, a new species of Beamerana from southeastern Brazil and new records of plant parasitic nematodes from rhizosphere of onion in Iran. 

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How plant diseases attract plant pests

Aster leafhopper – one of the species of sap-sucking bugs that transmits phytoplasma © Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

In the same way that mosquitoes transmit the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium, between humans, some species of leafhopper transmit phytoplasma bacteria between plants. Phytoplasmas are bacterial pathogens that infect the plant phloem and require sap-sucking bugs to transport them to other plants. Researchers at the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park have found that leafhoppers living on plants infected with phytoplasma produced more offspring. This is the first time that a particular protein in the bacteria has been found that reduces the plants’ defensive reactions to pests such as leafhoppers, allowing the bugs to thrive.
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