Symptoms similar to those of Pierce’s disease (PD) of grapevine and leaf scorch of almond were observed in vineyards and almond orchards in several provinces of Iran. Grafting of scions from symptomatic almond trees onto seedlings of a local almond (cv. Mamaee) under greenhouse conditions resulted in the transmission of the leaf scorch agent. A number of symptomatic samples from orchard and greenhouse plants were positive for presence of Xylella fastidiosa when tested by DAS-ELISA and PCR with X. fastidiosa specific antibodies and primers. A Gram-negative bacterium similar to X. fastidiosa was isolated on ‘periwinkle wilt’ (PW) medium. Selected isolates induced symptoms similar to those caused by X. fastidiosa when inoculated on Nicotiana tabacum, seedlings of almond and grapevine under greenhouse conditions. DAS-ELISA and PCR confirmed the identity of the isolated bacteria. On the basis of disease symptoms, graft transmission, isolation on specific X. fastidiosa culture medium, pathogenicity tests and positive reactions in DAS-ELISA and PCR, X. fastidiosa is associated with almond leaf scorch and Pierce’s disease in grapevine in Iran. This is the first report on the presence of X. fastidiosa in the Middle East and western Asia.
leaf scorch; Pierce’s disease