The EFSA Panelon Plant Health performed a pest categorisation for the Witches' broom disease of lime (Citrusaurantifolia) phytoplasma for the EU territory. The pest has been reported in a few countries in the Middle East and is not known to occur in the EU. The disease is caused by a well-defined phytoplasma strain in the Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia' species, for which efficient molecular detection assays are available. The most important known natural host is Citrusaurantifolia, which is only grown for ornamental purposes in the EU. Sweet limes, rough lemon and trifoliate orange are also naturally infected by that phytoplasma. The latter can be transmitted by grafting also to some citrus species. Other citrus species were reported to be resistant; however, their susceptibility has been assessed only by symptom observations, and the possible presence of phytoplasmas in symptomless plants cannot be ruled out. The phytoplasma is transmitted by the leafhopper Hishimonusphycitis, which is not known to occur in the EU. There is no information on the vector status of other phloem feeding insects of citrus present in the EU. The pest is listed in Annex IIAI of Directive 2000/29/EC. The main pathways for entry, plants for planting and the vector insect, are closed by existing legislation on import of citrus plants. Nevertheless, should the pest enter, it could establish and spread. In countries where Witches' broom disease of lime (WBDL) is present, it has significant impact. The main knowledge gaps concern (1) and vertical transmission of the phytoplasma to H.phycitis eggs (2) lack of information regarding susceptibility of citrus crops grown in the EU (3) status of potential insect vectors in the EU. Therefore, the WBDL phytoplasma meets the criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as a potential Union quarantine pest. (C) 2017 European Food Safety Authority. EFSA Journal published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of European Food Safety Authority.
- Candidatus phytoplasma aurantifolia
- Witches' broom disease of lime