EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 02 - 2003 Num. article: 2003/030

Studies on coconut lethal yellowing phytoplasma in Cuba

In Cuba, coconut (Cocos nucifera) is cultivated all over the country, but the main traditional cultivation areas are in Baracoa (Guantánamo Province), Niquero and Pilón (Granma Province). In Cuba, lethal yellowing has been observed for more than 100 years. Coconuts in the main growing areas were seriously affected by the disease from the end of the 19th century until the 1920s/1930s. A severe outbreak occurred in the 1960s in Niquero, killing the majority of the plants. From 1985 to 1990, the disease destroyed coconut cultivation in the Pilón area. Recent molecular studies showed for the first time that coconut lethal yellowing phytoplasma (EPPO A1 quarantine pest) could be detected in diseased coconuts, confirming its presence in Cuba. Comparison of sequences of Cuban isolates (Havana, Maísi) with a Mexican isolate (Yucatán), showed that isolates from Yucatán and Havana were closely related, but presented some difference with isolates from Maísi (eastern Cuba).


Llauger, R.; Becker, D.; Cueto, J.; Peralta, E.; González, V.; Rodríguez, M.; Rohde, W. (2002) Detection and molecular characterization of phytoplasma associated with lethal yellowing disease of coconut palms in Cuba.
Journal of Phytopathology, 150(7), 390-395.