Lethal Yellowing (LY)

Lethal yellowing (LY) is a phytoplasma disease caused by the 16SrIV-A phytoplasma.  It is similar in many respects to Lethal bronzing (LB) (caused by the 16SrIV-D phytoplasma) but is genetically distinct and exhibits a different host range (with a few susceptible species overlapping with LB).  Historically, LY has caused major economic loss to the coconut industry in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean and was introduced into Florida in the late 1940s.  It subsequently spread through the southern  1/3 of the state killing many ornamental palms, including coconuts.  Recently, LY has died down in Florida but remains active to this day in Jamaica.  Our ongoing collaboration with Dr. Wayne Myrie and the Coconut Industry Board of Jamaica seek to answer basic questions about the ecology of the disease.  Below are current research interests for my lab in collaboration with the Coconut Industry Board...

1) Identification of alternate hosts of the 16SrIV-A phytoplasma that serve as reservoirs

2) Vector identification

3) Planthopper diversity on coconut palms