June 2005. There was a question from NAQIA, the quarantine service of Papua New Guinea, on the nature of lethal yellowing of coconuts, and where information might be obtained. The following was received:
Coconut lethal yellowing is the 'big' phytoplasma disease that makes the headlines around the world, because it has devastated coconut populations in central America and the Carribean, resulting in a significant economic impact on tourist and other industries. It affects many other palm species.
Of all the key phytoplasma quarantine threats to the Pacific region, perhaps the most important are those associated with lethal diseases of coconuts.
Coconut infecting phytoplasmas belong to the Coconut lethal yellowing group (16SrIV). This group includes the phytoplasma associated with coconut lethal yellowing disease (suggested name Candidatus Phytoplasma palmae) and phytoplasmas associated with similar diseases of coconut on the African continent (suggested names Candidatus Phytoplasma cocostanzaniae and Candidatus Phytoplasma cocosnigeriae.
Researchers in various Pacific countries and collaborators at Rothampstead Resarch Station, UK are currently digging into the strain relationships of the phytoplasmas in the Pacific Islands. So far nothing has been found that is in these groups.
For what phytoplasmas have been found in PNG, before, the latest published information is still:
Davis RI, Jacobson SC, De La Rue SJ, Tran-Nguyen L, Gunua TG, Rahamma S (2003) Phytoplasma disease surveys in the extreme north of Queensland, Australia, and the island of New Guinea. Australasian Plant Pathology 32, 269-277.
For detail on cocount lethal yellowing: Centre for Information on Coconut Lethal Yellowing: www.cicy.mx/dir_acad/cicly/main.html
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