Immunological, microscopical and molecular evidence of phytoplasma in grapes

Guido Herrera M.1* y Mónica Madariaga V.1

The causal agent of grapevine yellows is associated to phytoplasm. The symptoms include leaf yellowing, rolling and abscission together to progressive vegetative decline. This study was conducted to determine whether grape (Vitis vinifera L.) plants showing yellowing symptoms were infected by phytoplasma. Grape plants from the Central zone of Chile were received in the Plant Virus Laboratory of the Centro Regional de Investigación La Platina, Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA), were tested by nitrocelulose-ELISA (nc-ELISA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and polimerase chain reaction (PCR). Petiole and leaf vein samples coming from affected plants showed phytoplasma under transmission electron microscopy and strongly reacted with a policlonal antiserum raised against phytoplasma. Using universal primers to phytoplasma a 550 base pair DNA fragment was amplified by PCR. The evidences confirm the presence of phytoplasm in the affected grape plants.

Keywords: Vitis vinifera L., polimerase chain reaction (PCR)
1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional de Investigación La Platina, Casilla 439, Correo 3, Santiago, Chile. E-mail: gherrera@inia.cl. * Autor para correspondencia.