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A Rapid and Sensitive Microbiological Assay for Phaseolotoxin. Brian J. Staskawicz, Graduate research assistant, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; N. J. Panopoulos, assistant plant pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720. Phytopathology 69:663-666. Accepted for publication 15 January 1979. Copyright 1979 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-69-663.

A rapid and sensitive bioassay for phaseolotoxin, a phytotoxic compound produced by Pseudomonas phaseolicola, has been developed. Apparently phaseolotoxin inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli strain K-12 in minimal-glucose medium by inhibiting l-ornithine carbamyltransferase (OCT), thereby creating a phenotypic requirement for arginine. Inhibition is reversed by citrulline and arginine, but not by ornithine. A dose-response curve was established with purified phaseolotoxin preparations and as little as 1012 pg of phaseolotoxin was detected. Growth inhibition also was observed with cell-free culture filtrates and around colonies of P. phaseolicola. Maximum zones of inhibition were observed when P. phaseolicola was grown at 18 C, the optimum temperature for toxin production and induction of chlorosis in planta. There was a 100% correlation between the ability of P. phaseolicola strains to induce chlorosis in bean and to inhibit E. coli. This assay technique greatly facilitates screening for nontoxigenic mutants of P. phaseolicola.

Additional keywords: halo blight toxin.