Apple proliferation (AP) is one of the most dangerous phytoplasma diseases in apple orchards and can cause severe economic losses due to the production of small fruits with low organoleptic qualities. The disease causal agent is Candidatus phytoplasma mali, belonging to the 16SrX phytoplasma group, and nowadays it is distributed within the most important European apple-producing areas. The phytoplasma is transmitted by insects vectors, mainly by two psyllids Cacopsylla picta (Föerster) and C. melanoneura (Föerster), only occasionally by the leafhopper Fieberiella florii (Stål), but the research for new insects vectors is still ongoing. Orientus ishidae (Matsumura, 1902) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), or "Mosaic Leafhopper'' (MLH) is an East Palearctic species introduced first into USA with the import of ornamental species and it is now widespread, also in Europe. MLH has a wide range of host plants, including some cultivated species like grapevine or apple, and is studied for its ability to transmit 16SrV phytoplasmas(i.e., grapevine flavescence dorée) and Ca. P. pruni (peach-X disease). In 2019, dense MLH populations were for the first time found in apple orchards in Trentino. Given its ability to transmit phytoplasmas, an investigation was started in the summer of 2020 to establish whether MLH could play a role in the AP epidemiology . MLH specimens were collected in an orchard in Trentino at the end of July, and individually were tested by PCR techniques (primer fAT-rAS). Our results indicate that the AP phytoplasma was detected in 25% of Orientus ishidae specimens. These preliminary results revealed that an important percentage of MLH population can acquire AP. Studies on the ability of MLH to transmit AP to apples are currently ongoing to better understand its role in the AP epidemiology and the possible consequence in terms of AP management
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