In April 2007, a bacterial leaf spot of onion (Allium cepa L.) was observed in fields of Namjeju, Jeju Province in Korea with incidence varying from 95 to 100%. Symptoms on leaves included leaf blight and white and brown spots on the leaf surface. Eight bacterial isolates were recovered on trypticase soy agar (TSA) from leaf spot and blight lesions that were surface sterilized in 70% ethanol for 1 min. The isolates were fluorescent on King's B agar and gram-negative, aerobic rods with one to three polar flagella. All isolates belonged to P. syringae (LOPAT) group Ia (+, −, −, −, +) (1). The gyrB, rpoD (2), and rpoB regions (4) of the isolates and reference strain Pseudomonas syringae pv. porri CFBP 1908PT (=BC2583) were partially sequenced using reported primers (2,4). The rpoB region (1,119 bp) of the isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. JF719311–JF719318 for rpoB) shared 100% identity with P. syringae pv. porri CFBP 1908PT (GenBank Accession No. JF719319). Phylogenetic analysis based on partial sequences of the gyrB (660 bp) and rpoD (590 bp) loci of Pseudomonas spp. available in the GenBank (2,4), the reference strain P. syringae pv. porri CFBP 1908PT, and the field isolates was conducted using Jukes-Cantor model in MEGA Version 4.1 (3). The isolates and reference strain P. syringae. pv. porri CFBP 1908PT clustered in one group (GenBank Accession Nos. JF719293–JF719300 for gyrB; JF719302–JF719309 for rpoD). On the basis of phenotypic and pathological characteristics and the sequences, the eight isolates were identified as P. syringae pv. porri. Pathogenicity was evaluated on 3-week-old onion plants (cv. Marushino 330) by spot and spray inoculation. Bacteria were grown on TSA for 24 h at 28°C. Five microliters of bacterial suspension in sterile distilled water (1 × 106 CFU/ml) were spot inoculated on pinpricked positions of five leaves for each isolate and incubated in humid plastic boxes at 27°C. Spot-inoculated surfaces turned white 2 days after inoculation, followed by brownish discoloration. A bacterial suspension in sterile distilled water (100 ml at 1 × 106 CFU/ml) was sprayed onto three plants for each isolate. Plants were maintained in a greenhouse at 18 to 27°C and 80% relative humidity. Isolates induced identical symptoms on all inoculated plants 2 weeks after spray inoculation as those originally observed on onion in the fields. Bacteria were reisolated 3 weeks after inoculation from diseased lesions surface sterilized in 70% ethanol for 1 min and the identity of the reisolated bacteria confirmed by analyzing the sequences of rpoD gene (2). No symptoms were noted on intact plants inoculated with sterilized distilled water. To our knowledge, this is the first report of bacterial leaf spot of onion caused by P. syringae pv. porri in Korea. The disease is expected to have a significant economic impact on onion culture in the fields of Jeju Province in Korea.
References: (1) R. A. Lelliott et al. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 29:470, 1966. (2) H. Sawada et al. J. Mol. Evol. 49:627, 1999. (3) K. Tamura et al. Mol. Biol. Evol. 24:1596, 2007. (4) L. Tayeb et al. Res. Microbiol. 156:763, 2005.