Research unveils ‘leafhopper’ risk in Türkiye

Leafhopper, a type of cicada originated in France, has spread around Anatolia, sickening plants with a pathogen called "phytoplasma," a research carried out by four experts from Istanbul University has revealed.

After the three-year research, in which they examined viruses on plants in a laboratory established within the university in 2019 with the support of the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK), it was found that the insect is very common especially in the west of the country.

According to the research, which determined that many disease-carrying insects came to Türkiye in line with the increasing temperature due to climate change, these come by carrying the "bois noir," a disease which is seen on vine leaves in France and creates black lignification on the leaves.

This causes the leaves of the vine to turn inward and the red grapes to become more petrified and gray, according to Işıl Tulum, the expert leading the research. "In Türkiye, on the other hand, we can say that the problems such as hardening of tomatoes and lack of seeds of fruits are caused by this disease.

"Our work is primarily on studying a pathogen with a minimal genome called phytoplasma," said Tulum.

The insects, which carry many diseases, move from south to north to optimal conditions that are more suitable for them depending on the temperature differences and spread the disease in that direction, according to Tulum.

"Therefore, we can observe the risk factors that we have not encountered before in Türkiye are actually starting to spread in the inner and northern parts of the country."

These small cicadas are more common in the Marmara provinces of Istanbul, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, Edirne and Çanakkale, recently, Tulum...

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