Pinus silvestris and Pinus halepensis trees growing in Germany and Spain, respectively, were found infected by a new phytoplasma. Suspect trees displayed abnormal shoot branching and dwarfed needles. PCR amplification, using universal phytoplasma primers, was used to make comparisons which revealed that the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the phytoplasmas, in both tree species, were nearly identical and only distantly related to other known phytoplasmas. From the data it was concluded that this phytoplasma represents a coherent and discrete taxon, proposed to be named 'Cadidatus Phytoplasma pini'. The pathological role of the pine phytoplasma remains unclear because it was also detected in non-symptomatic plants.
For more information, see:
Schneider, B. et al., 2005. 'Candidatus Phytoplasma pini', a novel taxon from Pinus silvestris and Pinus halepensis. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 55:303-307.