Distribution of Citrus Exocortis Viroid and Hop Stunt Viroid in Cirtus Orchards of Central Italy as Revealed by One-Tube One-Step RT-PCR

E. Ragozzino, F. Faggioli, M. Barba


A survey was carried out in citrus fields of Lazio and Tuscany in central Italy to determine the presence
of Citrus exocortis viroid (CEVd) and Hop stunt viroid (HSVd), both of which cause economically important diseases
in citrus. In order to make pathogen diagnosis easier and more efficient, a one-tube one-step RT-PCR assay was
developed and used for the detection of CEVd and HSVd in citrus samples collected from field trees. CEVd and HSVd
occurred in 100 and 30% of samples from Lazio respectively, and in 45 and 9% of samples from Tuscany. Specifically,
of 21 citrus cultivars belonging to nine citrus species and one hybrid, 12 cultivars and the hybrid were infected with
CEVd, one cultivar with HSVd, 3 cultivars with both viroids, and 4 cultivars were free from both viroids. The study
revealed a wide distribution of the two viroids in the citrus field samples and showed that one-tube one-step RT-PCR
assay is a rapid, sensitive and reliable technique for the detection of these viroids. This diagnostic technique is
therefore suitable for the preliminary screening of CEVd and HSVd in routine sanitary and certification programmes
because it drastically reduces the number of indicator plants needed for biological indexing of the two viroids.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14601/Phytopathol_Mediterr-1807

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