The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama) is the principal vector of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) associated with huanglongbing (HLB), the most serious citrus disease worldwide. New control measures including pesticides are urgently needed to combat HLB, especially to protect young or newly planted citrus trees from CLas-inoculation by vector psyllids. Here, we tested CLas-inoculation by D. citri adults (CLas-exposed, reared on infected plants) by feeding them for 7 d on excised healthy citrus leaves with dry residues of cyantraniliprole (Exirel), a novel insecticide, in comparison with fenpropathrin (Danitol 2.4EC), an insecticide commonly used against D. citri. Fewer adults settled (putatively feeding or probing) on leaves treated with cyantraniliprole than those treated with fenpropathrin or water controls. Also, psyllid adults died at a slower rate on leaves treated with cyantraniliprole than those treated with fenpropathrin, although the final cumulative mortality did not differ between the two treatments. In quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction tests, 59.0–65.3% of the CLas-exposed psyllid adults were proven to be CLas-positive. Inoculation rates of CLas (using 10 adults per leaf) into untreated healthy citrus leaves (47.5–85%) were significantly higher than rates into leaves treated with cyantraniliprole or fenpropathrin (2.5–12.5%). Reduced inoculation rates to leaves treated with cyantraniliprole probably occurred as a result of reduced feeding or probing by D. citri. The excised leaf assay method, which took only a few weeks compared with up to a year or longer using whole plants, can be an effective tool for testing the effect of new pesticides or other treatments in reducing CLas inoculation or transmission by psyllid vectors.
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Vol. 108 • No. 2