Phytoplasmas, unicellular vegetable parasites, belonging to the class Mollicutes, which exhibit globular (spherical) or ellipsoidal form with polymorphism (cell wall-less prokaryotes), are present in the phloem cells of the plants which they parasite. Typically phytoplasmas are detected and characterized using the molecular methods PCR-RFLP.

The symptoms induced by phytoplasmas in grapevines, specifically transmitted by some Cicadelloidea, are primarily associated with delayed bud-burst, curling and the appearance of yellows or reddish leaves in summer. Among the several characterized phytoplasmas in Europe the disease of interest is known as grapevine yellows disease – “Flavescence dorée” (FD), is specifically transmitted through the vector Schaphoideus titanus.

The control of phytoplasmas in grapevines is done mainly by avoiding infected vegetable material propagation and controlling the insect vector.

Keywords: phytoplasmas, MLOs, “flavescence dorée”, “grapevine yellows”