First report of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’ in Tunisia
In the northern part of Tunisia, symptoms resembling those of pear decline were observed in pear orchards, both on newly introduced cultivars (Pyrus communis cvs. ‘Williams’ and ‘Alexander Lucas’) and local ones (P. communis cvs. ‘Miski-Ahrech’ and ‘Bouguedma’). Affected trees showed reduced growth, small reddening leaves and premature leaf drop in autumn. In 2003 and 2004, 9 pear orchards in the Ras-Jebel area were surveyed and samples collected from both symptomatic and asymptomatic pear trees. Molecular tests (PCR and RFLP) confirmed the presence of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’ (EPPO A2 List) in all symptomatic pear trees. It is also noted that Cacopsylla pyri (a known vector of pear decline) is the most common psyllid found in Tunisian pear orchards. Preliminary observations made in affected orchards suggest that natural spread is taking place. This is the first report of pear decline in Tunisia.
The situation of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’ in Tunisia can be described as follows: Present, first reported in 2007 from Northern Tunisia.
Ben Khalifa M, Marrakchi M, Fakhfakh H (2007) ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’ infections in pear orchards in Tunisia. Journal of Plant Pathology 89(2), 269-272.