Elisha Bright Opoku, Maria Landgraf, Kaja Pack, Martina Bandte, Susanne von Bargen, Martin Schreiner, Barbara Jäckel and Carmen Büttner
Data from next generation sequencing indicate the complexity of the birch virome in the urban landscape of Berlin. It is well known that plant viruses are widespread and contribute to the decline of birch trees. A mixed infection by Cherry leaf roll virus (CLRV), Apple mosaic virus (ApMV) and two newly discovered viruses from the genus Badna- and Carlavirus were investigated in southern Berlin (Steglitz-Zehlendorf) in 2015 and 2016. To gain a more detailed view on epidemiology of this viral complex in birch, the study was enlarged in 2017 including eight districts all over Berlin. Birch trees with symptoms like defoliation and degeneration were selected for determination of viral pathogens by molecular biological methods. Within the complex occurring symptoms in birch trees, new types of symptoms have been identified. Different combinations of plant viruses in single and mixed infection were detected by Reverse Transcription- Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR.) CLRV and Badnavirus combinations have shown to be distinct and widely distributed. Heterogeneity is also known from the symptomatology of virus containing birch leaves. As the correlation of symptoms and viral infection is not shown yet for the mixed infections, it is unknown if the complexity of the virome is the cause of the variability of symptoms. Epidemiology and pathogenicity of the newly discovered viruses as well as species specificity, life cycle, mode of transmission, host plant range and phylogeny are totally unknown and have to be investigated within the next years.