Jeffrey B. Jones
Jeffrey B. Jones was born 5 February 1951, and grew up in Scarsdale, NY. He received his B.S. degree in botany from the University of Massachusetts in 1973, and an M.S. and Ph.D. with Dr. Curtis Roane in plant pathology from Virginia Tech in 1973 and 1980, respectively. His dissertation involved studying the interaction between Septoria nodorum and Xanthomonas campestris pv. translucens on wheat. Dr. Jones joined the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia in 1980 as a postdoctoral associate working with Dr. States McCarter on the ecology and epidemiology of bacterial speck of tomato. He developed a sensitive bioassay for detecting the target bacterium in crop residue, as an epiphyte on weed species, in soil and on seed. Furthermore, in work with Dr. McCarter and Dr. R. D. Gitaitis, it was determined that the bacterium overwintered in crop residue for up to 6 months, but was ineffective in oversummering. They also noted that two fluorescent pseudomonads, Pseudomonas syringae pvs. syringae and tomato, were associated with the leaf spots on commercial tomato transplants and the latter pathovar was destructive. They developed several assays to distinguish rapidly between these bacteria, with commercial transplants infected by P. syringae pv. tomato being rejected for shipment.
In 1981, Dr. Jones was appointed assistant professor and later professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research & Education Center in Bradenton. In 1998, Dr. Jones moved to the Department of Plant Pathology in Gainesville where he currently resides. During his tenure at the University of Florida, he has made significant contributions to plant pathology in a number of areas. Dr. Jones and coworkers identified the first sources of resistance in tomato to the bacterial spot pathogen, X. campestris pv. vesicatoria, which was associated with a hypersensitive reaction. He and coworkers determined that this resistance was associated with several genes in tomato and a single avirulence gene (avrRxv) in the pathogen. They characterized strains collected in South America lacking the avirulence gene and designated them tomato race 2. As a result of the initial work, two races of the bacterium were identified, and based on DNA-DNA hybridization studies and other genotypic and phenotypic data, which represented distinct species and have more recently been classified as X. vesicatoria and X. axonopodis pv. vesicatoria. In depth analysis of a worldwide collection using a polyphasic approach revealed considerable genetic and phenotypic diversity and resulted in the identification of four distinct groups. These groups were genetically or phenotypically distinct and represented three distinct species, with one species consisting of two groups that represent distinct subspecies. Dr. Jones in cooperation with other scientists identified several avirulence genes associated with the tomato races, one of which is regulated by the hrp system and was the first one identified to be induced. Dr. Jones, working with Dr. R. E. Stall, was involved in demonstrating that copper resistance in X. campestris pv. vesicatoria strains is plasmid-borne.
Dr. Jones has developed detection strategies for isolating and identifying bacteria for ecological studies including seed detection when the target organism is present in mixed populations with nontarget microorganisms. He and coworkers developed a vacuum infiltration procedure for isolating P. syringae pv. tomato from plant tissue and developed selective media for the isolation of bacteria from contaminated environments. While on sabbatical in the Netherlands at the Institute for Plant Protection, he and Dr. J. W. L. van Vuurde developed a procedure termed magnetic immunoisolation, which involved using paramagnetic beads and antibodies specific to the target bacterium to isolate the bacterium with reduced contaminating microorganisms from samples on selective or semiselective media. Dr. Jones developed an improved extraction buffer that increased enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay sensitivity 10-fold in leaf tissue. He has also been involved in developing polymerase chain reaction-based strategies for identifying xanthomonads in seed and plant tissue.
In addition, his research has focused on studying the ecology and epidemiology of bacterial pathogens. He studied survival mechanisms of the bacterial spot disease of tomato pathogen and determined that it can effectively survive on volunteer tomato plants for extended periods and serve as inoculum for the following crops. He determined that soil survival, survival in crop residue, and epiphytic survival on nonhost plants are generally of a short duration. Dr. Jones authored or coauthored 14 refereed publications describing new diseases or unique symptoms associated with diverse pathogens including species within Pseudomonas, Erwinia, and Agrobacterium. One of the pathogens was determined to be a new species of Agrobacterium, which was named A. larrymoorei.
Dr. Jones, with several other scientists, developed a strategy for using bacteriophages to control bacterial spot disease on tomato. The strategy consisted of applying a mixture of host-range mutant bacteriophages and wild-type bacteriophages. Their work clearly demonstrated that the bacteriophages provided significantly better control of the disease in greenhouse and field production compared with the standard bactericide (copper) application. Currently, many transplant and field production sites are utilizing this technology.
Dr. Jones has been involved in cooperative projects to develop tomato genotypes with high levels of resistance to two bacterial pathogens, X. campestris pv. vesicatoria and Ralstonia solanacearum. Tomato cv. Neptune, which has fair resistance to R. solanacearum, was developed by J. W. Scott, J. B. Jones, and other coworkers. J. W. Scott, J. B. Jones, R. E. Stall, and other coworkers have developed tomato genotypes with resistance to all three tomato races of the bacterial spot pathogen.
Dr. Jones has been an active member of the American Phytopathological Society since 1980. He has served on a number of APS committees (Bacteriology Committee twice and Tropical Plant Pathology Committee) as a member and as chairman of each once. He has served as a senior editor for Plant Disease and is currently a senior editor for APS Press. He has also edited or coedited two books (Compendium of Tomato Diseases and Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, Third Edition) published by APS Press.