Epidemiology of European stone fruit yellows in Germany: the role of wild Prunus spinosa

  • Wolfgang JarauschEmail author
  • Barbara Jarausch
  • Michelle Fritz
  • Miriam Runne
  • Aneliya Etropolska
  • Ernst Pfeilstetter


A nationwide monitoring with regard to the presence and distribution of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum’ and its vector, Cacopsylla pruni, has been carried out in Germany between 2013 and 2017. In total, 286 sites with cultivated and wild Prunus species were surveyed. 806 plant samples covering 94 administrative districts in all 13 federal area states and one city-state were analysed by PCR. Furthermore, 3108 C. pruni were caught in 63 districts and tested for ‘Ca. P. prunorum’. European stone fruit yellows was found mainly in symptomatic apricot, plum, almond and peach but also for the first time in Germany in sweet cherry. Non-symptomatic infections were detected in 437 randomly sampled P. spinosa at 104 sites without any stone fruit growing nearby representing a natural infection rate of 14%. The vector C. pruni was found on all P. spinosa plants at 62 sites spread across Germany. The infection rate of C. pruni was 1–2% regardless whether the insects were caught in stone fruit growing areas or at wild habitats. Our results strongly indicate that ‘Ca. P. prunorum’ is widespread in all natural habitats in Germany and that wild P. spinosa represent a major source of infection in stone fruit orchards. A representative sample of 1164 individuals of C. pruni captured at 100 sites was molecularly typed: all but one insect were of B-type, the one which is the proven vector of ‘Ca. P. prunorum’. C. pruni A-type was detected for the first time in Germany near the French border.


Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum’ Cacopsylla pruni Prunus Quarantine organism 



The nationwide monitoring was supported from 2013 to 2014 by a fund provided by the Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI) for national and international Plant Health. A. Etropolska was supported by a DAAD grant. The production of the distribution maps by Peter Horney (JKI Kleinmachnow) is greatly acknowledged. The authors would like to thank the following staff members of the German Plant Protection Services and the JKI for providing plant and insect samples:

Hans-Dieter Beuschlein, Werner Dahlbender, Uwe Dederichs, Conni Dippel, Paul Epp, Michael Fischbach, Peter Göbel, Uwe Harzer, Manfred Hellmann, Georg Henkel, Günther Hensel, Anne-Kathrin Hentsch, Armin Hofhansel, Stefanie Lapcik, Eveline Maring, Maureen Möwes, Sigrid von Norsinski, Eva Satzl, Elfie Schell, Franz-Josef Scheuer, Manfred Schröder, Bernd Schumacher, Sonja Schurig, Gerhard Steinecke, Silke Steinmöller, Martin Trautmann, Katrin Veit, Elke Weddell, Anne Wilstermann and Simone Wittke.


This study was supported from 2013 to 2014 by a fund provided by the Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI) for national and international Plant Health. Work conducted from 2015 to 2017 was funded by RLP AgroScience itself. A. Etropolska was supported by a DAAD grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

The manuscript has not been submitted to another journal for simultaneous consideration.

The manuscript has not been published previously. However, a conference abstract on preliminary data has been published in 2014. This abstract does not contain any concrete data. Thus, the present manuscript contains the entire data which are true and accurate to the knowledge of the authors.

A single study is not split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time.

Any work (data, text, or theories) of others besides the authors has been properly acknowledged.

All authors (including their responsible authorities) listed in the title page agreed to be named as authors on this manuscript.

Authors whose names appear on the submission have contributed sufficiently to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results.

Authors ensure the correct author group, corresponding author, and order of authors at submission.

Authors are aware that changes of authorship or in the order of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript.

Authors are aware that upon request they should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results.

Authors are aware of the COPE guidelines.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 38 kb)
10658_2019_1669_MOESM2_ESM.docx (30 kb)
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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Jarausch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barbara Jarausch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michelle Fritz
    • 1
  • Miriam Runne
    • 1
  • Aneliya Etropolska
    • 1
  • Ernst Pfeilstetter
    • 3
  1. 1.AlPlanta-IPR, RLP AgroScienceNeustadtGermany
  2. 2.Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated PlantsInstitute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and ViticultureSiebeldingenGermany
  3. 3.Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated PlantsInstitute for National and International Plant HealthBraunschweigGermany

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