A new disease on globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) was observed in the springs of 2008 and 2009 and during the spring and fall seasons of 2010 in commercial fields (nearly 1,000 ha) in Changde, Hunan Province, China. Characteristic symptoms were wilting and necrosis of the outermost leaves and dark brown discoloration of the vascular tissue and pith of the stem base. Eventually, the plants wilted and died. Nearly 5, 35, and 4% (2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively) of the artichoke fields were destroyed because of the disease. Manual weeding and cuttings often led to the development of typical soft rot during propagation. To investigate the causal agent of the disease, isolations were made from rotted stems of field artichoke plants on nutrient agar (NA). Bacteria consistently isolated from the diseased tissues formed gray-white, glossy, convex, translucent, and round colonies on NA. The bacterial cells were gram-negative rods with two to eight peritrichous flagella. Ten isolates were negative for oxidase, arginine dehydrolase, H2S, gelatin liquefaction, and tryptophan ammonialyase. Isolates were positive for catalase, reduced NO3 to NO2, indole, glucuroide, galactosidase, Voges-Proskauer test, and β-galactosidase, along with being facultatively anaerobic and insensitive to erythromycin (40 μg/ml). Negative results were obtained for utilization of maltose, gluconate, and phenylacetic acid, and positive results were obtained from arabinose, glucose, mannose, N-acetyl-glucosamine, mannitol, and sodium citrate for all isolates. Acid was produced from glucose, inositol, rhamnose, melibiose, arabinose, mannitol, sucrose, and amarogentin. All test results were similar to reference strain PCC1000 (GenBank Accession No. JF721959) of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. These isolates could also cause soft rot of Chinese cabbage stem, carrot slice, pepper, lettuce and artichoke stems, and tomato and potato slices within 48 h at 28°C in an artificial inoculation test (3). PCR amplification was carried out by utilizing universal 16S rDNA primer pair 16SF/16SR and pel gene primers Y1/Y2 (1). The 16S rDNA and pel gene sequences of isolate HNXDT002 (GenBank Accession Nos. JF721958 and JF721960, respectively) had 99 and 93% nucleotide identity with strains of P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (GenBank Accession Nos. U80197 and CP001657, respectively). Pathogenicity was confirmed by needle-stab inoculation (1 × 108 CFU/ml) at the stem on three healthy artichoke plants held at 28°C for 48 h. Sterile distilled water was used as a negative control. Within 72 h after inoculation, water-soaking and soft-rot symptoms were observed on all inoculated artichoke plants, while controls remained healthy. The bacterium was recovered only from rotted stems of inoculated plants. In recent years, P. carotovorum was reported on such plants as Pinellia ternata (4) and Chinese cabbage (2) in China. To our knowledge, this is the first report of bacterial rot disease caused by P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum on artichoke in China.
References: (1) D. J. Brenner et al. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. Vol. 2. Springer, NY, 2005. (2)Y. Fang et al. Acta Microbiol. Sinica 44:136, 2004. (3) H. Yi-Bo et al. Acta Phytopathol. Sinica 37:338, 2007. (4) F. X. Ying et al. Plant Dis. 91:1359, 2007.
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