Fire blight, caused by Erwinia amylovora (Burr.) Winslow et al., affects plants in the Rosaceae family, which includes trees and shrubs in orchards, nurseries, and landscape plantations. During the springs and summers of 2008 and 2010, dying branches, necrotic leaves attached to shoots, and blighted twigs of meadowsweet (Spirea prunifolia) were observed at three different locations of landscape areas in Konya Province, Turkey. Disease incidence was approximately 1% on the plants during the surveys. Initial symptoms of reddish to brownish streaks on the shoots of infected plants were observed in spring. Nine representative bacterial strains were isolated from the lesions on shoots of seven meadowsweet plants on nutrient sucrose agar (NSA) medium and identified as E. amylovora on basis of biochemical, physiological (2,3) and molecular tests (1). Bacteria were gram-negative, rod shaped, aerobic, fermentative, yellow-orange on Miller and Scroth medium (2), positive for levan formation and acetoin production, did not grow at 36°C, positive for gelatin hydrolysis, and negative for esculin hydrolysis, indole, urease, catalase, oxidase, arginine dehydrolase, reduction of nitrate, acid production from lactose, and inositol. All strains were hypersensitive response-positive on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum var. White Burley) plants. All strains were identified as E. amylovora using the species-specific primers set, A/B (1), by PCR assay, and by fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles determined by Sherlock Microbial Identification System software (TSBA 6 v. 6.00; Microbial ID, Newark, DE) with similarity indices ranging from of 79 to 99%. Pathogenicity was tested by injecting of petioles and actively growing three shoot tips of 2-year-old S. prunifolia seedlings cv. number 29 using a 0.46 mm-diameter hypodermic needle with bacterial suspensions containing 108 CFU mL–1 in sterile distilled water (SDW) Plants were inoculated with each of the nine bacterial strains and two references strains, Ea29 and NCPPB 2791 (Selcuk University, Department of Plant Protection, Konya, Turkey). Symptoms resembling those associated with natural infection appeared on the inoculated plants 7 days after inoculation. Plants inoculated with SDW served as a negative control treatment, and no symptoms were observed on these plants. All tests were repeated three times with the same results. Bacterial re-isolations were attempted from the control plants as well as shoots and leaves inoculated with the two reference strains and the nine bacteria identified as E. amylovora. Bacteria isolated from inoculated plants were identified as E. amylovora using the biochemical, physiological, and molecular tests described above, but this bacterium was not isolated from the control plants. Phytosanitary measures must be taken to avoid spread of the pathogen to ornamentals in new landscape areas in Turkey. This report is important because infected Spirea spp. can be a potential inoculum source for other rosaceous ornamentals. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the occurrence of fire blight on meadowsweet in Turkey.
References: (1) S. Bereswill et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 58:3522, 1992. (2) A. L. Jones and K. Geider. Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, pp. 40-55. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2001. (3) R. A. Lelliott and D. E. Stead. Methods for Diagnosis of Bacterial Diseases of Plants (Methods in Plant Pathology). Oxford, UK, 1987.
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