A suspect bacterial leaf spot on vegetable sponge gourd (Luffa cylindrical (L.) Roem.) was found in a commercial greenhouse in Pi County, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China, in February 2011. Approximately 20 to 30% of plants were affected, causing serious economic loss. Symptoms occurred only on seedlings and consisted of water-soaked, irregularly shaped, black lesions on the surface and margins of cotyledons. A bacterium was consistently isolated on nutrient agar from diseased leaf tissues that had been surface disinfected in 70% ethyl alcohol for 30 s. The bacterium produced small gray colonies with smooth margins, was gram negative, fluoresced on King's B medium, and showed pectolytic activity when inoculated on potato slices. The partial sequences of 16SrRNA gene (1,377 bp) of the bacterium (GenBank Accession No. KC762217), amplified by using universal PCR primers 16SF (5′-AGAGTTTGATCCTGGCTCAG-3′) and 16SR (5′-GGTTACCTTGTTACGACTT-3′), shared 100% similarity with that of Pseudomonas cichorii (GenBank Accession No. HM190228). The vegetable sponge gourd isolate was also identified by using the Biolog Microbial Identification System (version 4.2, Biolog Inc., Hayward, CA) as P. cichorii with the following characteristics (1): negative for arginine dihydrolase, gelatin liquefaction, and N2 production. Positive reactions were obtained in tests for catalase, oxidase, potato rot, utilization of melibiose, and mannitol. Tests were negative for utilization of sucrose, trehalose, D-arabinose, raffinose, cellobiose, and rhamnose. A pathogenicity test was conducted on 4-week-old vegetable sponge gourd plants by spray-inoculation with 108 CFU/ml sterile distilled water on the leaves of 15 vegetable sponge gourd plants and by needle puncture on the stems of 15 other plants with P. cichorii, respectively. Control plants were misted with sterile distilled water or punctured on the stem with a clean needle. Plants were placed in a greenhouse maintained at 28 ± 2°C with relative humidity of 80 to 85%. Symptoms, the same as seen on the original diseased plants, developed after 7 to 10 days on inoculated plants. Control plants remained healthy. The bacterium was readily re-isolated from inoculated plants and identified as P. cichorii using P. cichorii-specific primer hrpla/hrp2a (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. cichorii causing disease on commercially grown vegetable sponge gourd in China. This new finding will provide the basis for developing resources for diagnostics and management, including screening varieties for resistance.
References: (1) S. Mazurier et al. J. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 49:455, 2004. (2) N. W. Schaad et al., eds. Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, 3rd ed. APS Press, St. Paul, MN, 2001.
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