'Candidatus Phytoplasma balanitae' associated with witches' broom disease of Balanites triflora

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2013 Feb;63(Pt 2):636-640. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.041566-0. Epub 2012 Apr 27.


A phytoplasma was identified in naturally infected wild Balanites triflora plants exhibiting typical witches' broom symptoms (Balanites witches' broom: BltWB) in Myanmar. The 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that BltWB phytoplasma had the highest similarity to that of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma ziziphi' and it was also closely related to that of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma ulmi'. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that the BltWB phytoplasma clustered as a discrete subclade with Elm yellows phytoplasmas. RFLP analysis of the 16S rRNA gene including the 16S-23S spacer region differentiated the BltWB phytoplasma from 'Ca. P. ziziphi', 'Ca. P. ulmi' and 'Candidatus Phytoplasma trifolii'. Analysis of additional ribosomal protein (rp) and translocase protein (secY) gene sequences and phylogenetic analysis of BltWB showed that this phytoplasma was clearly distinguished from those of other 'Candidatus Phytoplasma' taxa. Taking into consideration the unique plant host and the restricted geographical occurrence in addition to the 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity, the BltWB phytoplasma is proposed to represent a novel taxon, 'Candidatus Phytoplasma balanitae'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Balanites / microbiology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myanmar
  • Phylogeny*
  • Phytoplasma / classification*
  • Phytoplasma / genetics
  • Phytoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB689678
  • GENBANK/AB689679
  • GENBANK/AB689680