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UCR graduate student discovers, names bacterium linked to psyllid yellows
Date:8/12/2008

isor is Richard Stouthamer, a professor of entomology. "The saliva of the tomato psyllid has been known to cause yellowing of tomato and potato leaves. The cause of this symptom has been a mystery for over a century."

Hansen's discovery has the potential to help plant breeders develop resistant cultivars of potato and tomato.

"What we know is that the bacterium is vectored by the tomato/potato psyllid into their tomato and potato host plants, subsequently causing yellowing and death to the plant," Hansen said. "This knowledge may help growers come up with alternative strategies for controlling this pest. We're now working in the lab to confirm whether Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous is the psyllid yellows-causing bacterium."

The new bacterium is closely related to huanglongbing or HLB disease, also known as citrus greening disease, so named because the disease causes the citrus fruit to retain some green spots even when the fruit is ripe.

"Huanglongbing is Chinese for yellow dragon disease," Hansen explained. "Chinese farmers call the young, infected yellowing shoots of citrus 'yellow dragons' because of the symptoms this disease causes in the plant."

To date, three other HLB bacteria have been identified, all of which primarily infect citrus. Hansen mentioned that a huge scientific effort currently is underway to study HLB of citrus, a disease that is threatening to destroy Florida's citrus industry.

Hansen, Stouthamer, Paine and John Trumble, a professor of entomology at UCR, reported the discovery of the new bacterium in a research paper published online, ahead of print, on Aug. 1 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

"Liberibacter psyllaurous could be a good model
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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UCR graduate student discovers, names bacterium linked to psyllid yellows
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