Vol. 60 No. 1 (2021)

Detection and phylogeny of viruses in native Albanian olive varieties

Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo di Bari, Via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano (BA), Italy
Magdalena CARA
Agricultural University of Tirana, Department of Plant Protection, Albania
Agricultural University of Tirana, Department of Plant Protection, Albania
Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo di Bari, Via Ceglie 9, 70010 Valenzano (BA), Italy
Published May 14, 2021
  • RT-PCR,
  • sequence and phylogenetic analyses,
  • certification programme
How to Cite
T. ELBEAINO, M. CARA, S. SHAHINI, and P. PANDELI, “Detection and phylogeny of viruses in native Albanian olive varieties”, Phytopathol. Mediterr., vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 165-174, May 2021.


Forty samples representing 14 native Albanian and two foreign olive varieties were collected from an olive varietal collection plot in the Valias region (Tirana, Albania). The samples were assayed by RT-PCR for presence of olive-infecting viruses, including arabis mosaic virus (ArMV), cherry leaf roll virus (CLRV), cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), olive latent ringspot virus (OLRSV), olive latent virus 1 (OLV-1), olive leaf yellowing-associated virus (OLYaV), strawberry latent ringspot virus (SLRSV) and by PCR for the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa (Xf). Ninety-eight percent of the samples were infected with at least one virus. OLYaV was the most prevalent (85% of samples), followed by OLV-1 (50%), OLRSV (48%), CMV (28%), SLRSV (3%) and CLRV (5%), whereas ArMV and Xf were absent. Fifty-five percent of the samples were infected with one virus, 13% with two viruses, 20% with three, and 5% with four. Analyses of the nucleotide sequences of the Albanian virus isolates generally showed low genetic variability, and that most were phylogenetically related to Mediterranean isolates, in particular to those from Greece and Italy. Five olive trees, representing three native cultivars (‘Managiel’, ‘Kalinjot’ and ‘Kushan-Preze’) and one foreign (‘Leccino’), were found to be plants of the Conformitas Agraria Communitatis (“CAC”) category i.e. free of ArMV, CLRV, SLRSV and OLYaV. Only one tree of the native cultivar ‘Ulliri i kuq’ was free of all tested viruses, so this is plant material of the “Virus-tested” category. Olives derived from both categories could be used for propagation of standard quality plant materiel in a future certification programme for olive in Albania. This is the first report of CLRV, OLRSV, CMV and OLV-1 in Albania. The study also reveals the precarious health status of native olive varieties in the Valias varietal collection plot. However, the discovery of six plants representing two certifiable categories is a first step in a future olive tree certification program in the country.


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