Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma are two bacterial groups that do not have a cell wall. Both groups include obligate parasites. Previously, phytoplasmas were known as mycoplasma-like organisms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Mycoplasma
3. What is Phytoplasma
4. Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma
5. Side by Side Comparison – Mycoplasma vs Phytoplasma in Tabular Form
What is Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasmas are bacteria that do not have a cell wall (wall-less bacteria). They are very small bacteria, ranging between 150-250 nm. In fact, they are the smallest bacteria discovered so far. They are pleomorphic in shape. They possess both DNA and RNA and have a small genome.
Mycoplasmas cause diseases in animals as well as humans. Mycoplasma pneumonia, Mycoplasma hominis and Mycoplasma genitalium are three clinically significant species. These bacteria resist many common antibiotics which target cell walls since they don’t have a cell wall.
What is Phytoplasma?
Phytoplasma, initially termed as mycoplasma-like organism (MLO), is an obligate parasite of plants. They live in plant phloem tissues, and their plant-to-plant transmission occurs via insect vectors, grafting, and dodder plants. Most importantly, they usually enter into phloem tissue and move through the phloem sap to congregate in mature leaves.
Phytoplasmas are very minute unicellular prokaryotic organisms that have sizes ranging 200-800 nm. Furthermore, they are pleomorphic since they don’t have a rigid cell wall. A triple layered lipoprotein membrane surrounds them. They generally exist in ovoid forms. Filamentous forms of phytoplasmas rarely occur. Moreover, they have both DNA and RNA. They are known to have the smallest genome among the living organisms.
Phytoplasmas cause diseases in plant species including important crops, fruit trees, and ornamental plants. Little leaf of brinjals, sesamum phyllody, sandal spike, grassy shoot of sugarcane, peach rosette are some of these diseases. However, planting disease-resistant crop varieties and controlling insect vectors are the solutions for these diseases.
What are the Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma?
- They both are small prokaryotic microorganisms.
- Both bacteria do not have a cell wall.
- Both these groups are pleomorphic.
- These two bacterial groups have both DNA and RNA and also a very small genome.
- Further, they both are parasites.
What is the Difference Between Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma?
Mycoplasma vs Phytoplasma
|Mycoplasma is a group of small typically parasitic bacteria that lack cell walls.||Phytoplasma is a group of bacteria obligate bacterial parasites of plant phloem tissues.|
|Ranges between 150 – 250 nm||Ranges between 200 – 800 nm|
|Transmits through various modes||Transmits through insect vectors|
|Have a unique cell membrane containing sterols||Has a three-layered lipoprotein membrane|
Summary – Mycoplasma vs Phytoplasma
To sum up the difference between Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma; both Mycoplasma and Phytoplasma are two bacterial groups which do not have a rigid cell wall like other bacteria. However, mycoplasmas are the smallest bacteria that have bee identified so far. They are parasites of animals. Whereas, phytoplasmas are obligate parasites of plants. They enter plants through insect vectors and move through the phloem sap.
1. “Plant Diseases Caused by Phytoplasma and Spiroplasma.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 30 Jan. 2018, Available here.
2. Maejima, Kensaku, et al. “Exploring the Phytoplasmas, Plant Pathogenic Bacteria.”SpringerLink, Springer Japan, 18 Mar. 2014, Available here.