In Chile, phytoplasmas have been reported in sugar beet, grapevine, peony, and Chilean shrubs. ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi' have been detected in plants of Ugni molinae Turczanínow (Myrta- ceae) and the leafhopper Amplicephalus curtulus Linnavuori & DeLong. We evaluated the possibility of phytoplasma transmission from native plants to grasses by A. curtulus and the possible effect on the plant hosts. Newly emerged adults were placed in cages with phytoplasma-infected U. molinae for 72 h (acquisition access period). These plants were then replaced by healthy ryegrasses for 20 d (latent period). They were again replaced for other healthy ryegrasses and were place in cages for 14,7, and 1 d (inoculation access period [IAP]). After IAP, these plants were moved into different insect-free cages for 30 d, after which polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses were carried out. Phytoplasma-free insects on ryegrasses were considered as control treatments. Furthermore, plant height and leaf area were recorded for all treatments. After PCR, 46, 60, and 13% of the plants exposed to infected A. curtulus by 14, 7, and 1dof IAP, respectively, were infected with ‘Ca. Phytoplasma ulmi'. Similarly, plants exposed to an IAP of 14, 7, and 1 d with phytoplasma-infected leafhoppers showed a reduction in plant height of 19, 39, and 28% and leaf area of 302, 169, and 55%, respectively, in comparison to those exposed to phytoplasma-free leafhoppers. We showed that A. curtulus has the ability to transmit phytoplasma from U. molinae to ryegrasses, affecting ryegrass plant height and leaf area.
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