Bacterial wilt, caused by Ralstonia solanacearum, is a major disease affecting potato (Solanum tuberosum) production worldwide. Although local reports suggest that the disease is widespread in Uruguay, characterization of prevalent R. solanacearum strains in that country has not been done. In all, 28 strains of R. solanacearum isolated from major potato-growing areas in Uruguay were evaluated, including 26 strains isolated from potato tubers and 2 from soil samples. All strains belonged to phylotype IIB, sequevar 1 (race 3, biovar 2). Genetic diversity of strains was assessed by repetitive-sequence polymerase chain reaction, which showed that the Uruguayan strains constituted a homogeneous group. In contrast, inoculation of the strains on tomato and potato plants showed, for the first time, different levels of aggressiveness among R. solanacearum strains belonging to phylotype IIB, sequevar 1. Aggressiveness assays were also performed on accessions of S. commersonii, a wild species native to Uruguay that is a source of resistance for potato breeding. No significant interactions were found between bacterial strains and potato and S. commersonii genotypes, and differences in aggressiveness among R. solanacearum strains were consistent with previously identified groups based on tomato and potato inoculations. Moreover, variation in responses to R. solanacearum was observed among the S. commersonii accessions tested.
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