Citrus exocortis viroid (CEVd) and hop stunt viroid (HSVd) are the main viroids circulating in all citrus-growing areas worldwide, and causing two well-known diseases on citrus trees; exocortis and cachexia, respectively. These viroids are small, covalently closed single-stranded RNA, allocated to the Pospiviroidae family. CEVd is the first viroid being described on citrus trees in 1948 in California. It is considered the largest citrus viroid at 371 nucleotides. It causes bark scaling disorder on the rootstock of citrus trees grafted on trifoliate orange and its hybrids and can cause dwarfing of trees grown on these rootstocks. HSVd was first observed in 1945 in Florida. It consists of 299 nucleotides. Stunting, chlorosis, bark gumming, stem pitting, decline, and depressions in the wood are the main symptoms of HSVd in mandarin and its hybrids. The introduction and propagation of infected budwoods are the main causes of viroids spread in citrus orchards. These agents are mechanically sap-transmissible and spread by contaminated tools. Neither seed transmission nor vectors have been reported for both viroids. Root transmission, though possible, would be overshadowed by mechanical transmission. Rapid and sensitive molecular-based detection methods specific to both viroids are available. Both diseases are controlled by using viroids-free budwoods for new plantations, launching budwood certification programs, and establishing a quarantine system for new citrus varieties introduction. The most important achievements in CEVd and HSVd researches are outlined in this chapter. This would help to provide a clearer understanding of the diseases they cause and contribute to the development of better control strategies.
Part of the book: Citrus