New research just released in the September issue of Plant Disease suggests that weeds commonly found in California’s wine country may enable the spread of Pierce’s disease of grapes, one of the most destructive plant diseases affecting grapes.
Pierce’s disease is caused by Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium transmitted by sharpshooters and spittlebugs. In response to outbreaks of Pierce’s disease in central California, plant pathologists studied 29 weed species commonly found in California’s San Joaquin Valley to see if the bacterium could survive on the weeds. Perennials and known feeding and breeding hosts of the glassy-winged sharpshooter were tested first, then plants particularly abundant in or near vineyards.
"Our objectives were to determine the fate of Pierce’s disease infections in previously untested plant species associated with southern San Joaquin Valley vineyards, and compare survival of the infections in selected field and greenhouse-grown plants," said Christina Wistrom, staff research associate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
Amy Steigman | EurekAlert!
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