First report of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma fragariae’ in the United Kingdom
The NPPO of the United Kingdom recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first outbreak of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma fragariae’ on its territory. In November 2014, the pathogen was found at one location in Southern UK in a stand of Corylus sp. trees (approximately 10-15 years old and of unknown origin). Approximately 20 trees were showing decline. Symptoms included yellowing of leaves with necrosis at the edges, thinning out of the foliage and general decline. Nearby Corylus trees were showing much more vigorous and normal growth. This also appears to be the first record of this pathogen infecting Corylus. ‘Ca. P. fragariae’ is a Stolbur group phytoplasma and is closely related to ‘Ca. P. solani’. This outbreak was notified to the NPPO by the local wildlife trust, as Corylus trees were exhibiting unusual symptoms. The identity of the pathogen was then confirmed by sequencing.
Containment action has been taken. All symptomatic trees were destroyed and further testing is being done to delimit the extent of the outbreak. Further monitoring will be undertaken in the summer when surrounding trees are in leaf.
The pest status of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma fragariae’ in the United Kingdom is officially declared as: Transient, actionable, under eradication.
NPPO of the United Kingdom (2014-12).