The xylem-limited bacterium Xylella fastidosa causes the widely disseminated citrus variegated chlorosis disease (CVC). In Brazil, CVC has been known for more than 20 years and affects only sweet orange. Lime and mandarin have remained free of symptoms despite the high inoculum pressure. Knowing the mechanisms underlying this apparent resistance is important to devise new disease control strategies. The reaction of commercial sweet orange (‘Caipira’, ‘Natal’, ‘Pêra’, and ‘Valencia’), lime (Mexican and Persian), mandarin (‘Cleopatra’, ‘Cravo’, ‘Ponkan’, and ‘Sunki’), and the acid citrus species Rangpur to X. fastidiosa was compared in artificially inoculated seedlings, which were assessed for symptom expression, pathogen isolation, and the amount of apparently occluded xylem vessels in cross-sectioned leaf petioles. Only the sweet orange expressed typical CVC symptoms, varying from 53.8% in Valencia to 63.0% in Caipira. Average percentages of positive isolations (pi) and occluded vessels (ov) were higher in sweet orange (pi= 59.2 to 75.0; ov = 10.7 to 25.8) than mandarin (pi = 2.3 to 16.3; ov = 1.4 to 4.0), lime (pi = 0 to 5.4; ov = 0 to 2.1), or Rangpur (pi = 1,9; ov = 1.1). There were no obvious differences in xylem anatomy among all citrus varieties, suggesting that the mechanisms of resistance to CVC are not related to any physical variation in xylem structure.
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