Symptoms resembling giant calyx, a graft-transmissible disease, were observed on 1–5 % of eggplant (aubergine; Solanum melongena L.) plants in production fields in Sao Paulo state, Brazil. Phytoplasmas were detected in 12 of 12 samples from symptomatic plants that were analysed by a nested PCR assay employing 16S rRNA gene primers R16mF2/R16mR1 followed by R16F2n/R16R2. RFLP analysis of the resulting rRNA gene products (1.2 kb) indicated that all plants contained similar phytoplasmas, each closely resembling strains previously classified as members of RFLP group 16SrIII (X-disease group). Virtual RFLP and phylogenetic analyses of sequences derived from PCR products identified phytoplasmas infecting eggplant crops grown in Piracicaba as a lineage of the subgroup 16SrIII-J, whereas phytoplasmas detected in plants grown in Bragança Paulista were tentatively classified as members of a novel subgroup 16SrIII-U. These findings confirm eggplant as a new host of group 16SrIII-J phytoplasmas and extend the known diversity of strains belonging to this group in Brazil.