Bacterial soft rot of banana was first noticed in 2009 in Guangzhou city, China. The disease also was observed on various banana cultivars of different genotypes in several other cities. Symptoms of the disease included leaf wilting, collapse of pseudostems, and unusual odor. Five isolated strains that fulfilled Koch's postulates were used for biochemical testing. The five strains were most similar to Dickeya dadantii or D. zeae, but were much less similar to D. paradisiaca when using several phenotype characteristics. Sequence analysis of 16S rDNA, dnaX, gryB, and recA of a reference strain revealed a similarity of 99% with the sequences of D. zeae, rather than D. paradisiaca. Phylogenic analysis of concatenated sequences of dnaX, gryB, and recA indicated that the banana strain constituted a distinguishable clade with several D. zeae strains involving rice pathogens D. zeae EC1 and ZJU1202 from Guangdong province, but the banana pathogen had several characteristics that distinguished it from the rice pathogens. Therefore, the banana pathogen was determined to be D. zeae. This is the first report of banana soft rot caused by D. zeae in China; however, the pathogen can infect other important crops.
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