Situation of pear decline phytoplasma in Southern Italy
Pear decline (EPPO A2 quarantine pest) was probably observed for the first time in Italy in 1934. Until recently, pear decline phytoplasma was thought to be essentially present in the north and central part of Italy, in particular in Emilia-Romagna, Trentino Alto-Adige and Veneto. However, the disease was found in Southern Italy (EPPO RS 97/170), mainly in Campania. Further studies have been carried to determine the extent of the disease in the south. Samples were collected from declining pear trees in Puglia and Basilicata and were tested by PCR. In some orchards, the incidence of declining trees reached 40 %. All symptomatic trees tested gave positive results. In addition, RFLP analysis of PCR products showed the typical profile for pear decline phytoplasma. The authors noted that the disease may have been present earlier in southern Italy without being identified as symptoms are not characteristic and could have been attributed to other causes (adverse growing conditions, etc.). Another possibility is that the incidence and extent of the disease have increased due to the use of infected planting material and difficulties faced in controlling the psyllid vector
Marcone, C.; Ragozzino, A.; Cirulli, M. (1999) [Widespread occurrence of pear decline disease in Southern Italy].
Informatore Fitopatologico, no. 3, 50-52.