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N. Shlamovitz, P. Spiegel-Roy and E. Tanne

In many cases the diagnosis of a viral disease in perennial woody plants requires indexing by grafting on indicator plants. In the case of grapevine leafroll and corky-bark diseases, indexing requires 2 to 3 years for symptom recording. Both diseases are found in all grapevine-growing countries. It would therefore be advantageous to develop a sensitive, quick, and reliable diagnostic technique. Explant shoots infected with corky-bark were micrografted onto healthy indicator rootstocks and maintained in vitro. Typical corky-bark symptoms appeared on the indicator within 8 to 12 weeks. Osmotic stress, in vitro, induced by sorbitol, enhanced leafroll symptoms. Explants expressed symptoms after 2 to 3 months of growth on these media. The advantages of these techniques are: Rapid indexing, saving of space and labor, could be performed year-round. Further experiments are underway for adaptation of the micrografting to leafroll disease and the stress method for corky-bark disease.

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E. Tanne, L. Kuznetsova, J. Cohen, S. Alexandrova and A. Gera

Recently, yellows diseases have become more common in Israel, and phytoplasmas have been detected in some of these diseased crops. Commercial fields of two celosia species (Celosia plumosa L. and C. cristata L.) also have exhibited yellows symptoms and total crop failure. Typical mycoplasma-like bodies were observed in infected but not in healthy plants. The same plants were analyzed for the presence of phytoplasma by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using the universal oligonucleotide pair r16SF2/r16SR2, followed by nested PCR using group-specific primers. Restriction analyses performed with these products indicated that two different types of phytoplasmas are infecting celosia. PCR-RFLP analysis of one type revealed a restriction pattern typical of aster yellows. Similar analysis of the second type indicated possible relatedness, though not identity, to the pattern of phytoplasmas of the Western-X group. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of phytoplasma infection in celosia.