Bacterial heart rot caused by a yet undetermined species of Dickeya was first observed in December 2003 in Oahu, HI, on a pineapple cultivar (Ananas comosus ‘PRI 73-114’) recently imported from Central America. Identical symptoms were later seen in the same plantation in fields that had been planted with propagules from the Philippines. Dickeya strains isolated from symptomatic plants and irrigation water collected over subsequent years were identified using bacteriological tests and partial 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing and characterized using repetitive sequence-based polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR) with the BOXA1R primer (BOX-PCR), pathogenicity on pineapple leaves, and reactivity with two monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Strains exhibited variability in pathogenicity and in reactivity with MAbs. BOX-PCR separated the plant-isolated Dickeya strains into seven haplotypes that were placed into four fingerprint groups (A to D). Strains from the A and B groups were isolated from the Central American stocks, whereas strains in the D group were identified from Philippine material. Strains from the C group were isolated from both planting materials. Most strains from water sources were placed into three haplotypes that loosely formed group E. BOX-PCR polymorphisms between the Dickeya strains isolated from foreign pineapple plants, a local collection of Dickeya strains, and strains from the plantation's water sources support the possibility that at least two separate introductions of genetically distinct strains occurred via imported planting stocks.
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