Horn lian (Typhonium giganteum) is a perennial herb of the family Aracea and is commonly used for expelling phlegm and as an antispasmodic treatment. In August 2012, horn lian grown in Changchun, Jilin Province of China, exhibited soft rot disease with ~60% incidence and experienced great losses. Water-soaked and dark green lesions on leaves expanded along main veins. Semitransparent, water-soaked, and sunken lesions on stems expanded rapidly and caused the whole plant to collapse with a foul smell. Nine representative strains were isolated from infected leaves and stems on nutrient agar (NA) medium after 36 h incubation at 28°C (1). Colonies were round, shiny, grayish white, and convex on NA medium. All strains were gram-negative, non-fluorescent on King's B medium (KB), facultatively anaerobic, motile with three to six peritrichous flagella (observed by electron transmission microscope), positive for catalase and pectolytic activity test on potato slices, but negative for oxidase, urease, and lecithinase. Strains grew at 37°C and in yeast salts broth medium containing 5% NaCl. They also liquefied gelatin and reduced nitrate, but did not reduce sucrose. Strains were also negative for starch hydrolysis, malonate utilization, gas production from glucose and indole. Results were variable for the Voges-Proskauer test. The strains utilized sucrose, arabinose, fructose, D-galactose, D-glucose, inositol, lactose, D-mannose, D-mannitol, melibiose, rhamnose, salicin, trehalose, maltose, raffinose, glycerol, D-xylose, and cellobiose as carbon sources, but not melezitose, α-CH3-D-gluconate, sorbitol, or dulcitol. Species identity was confirmed by molecular characterization of one of the nine strains, DJL1-2. DNA GC content indicated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was 51.7%. The 16S rDNA sequence (KC07897) of DJL1-2 showed 99% identity to that of a Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (Pcc) strain (CP001657) and the sequence of the 16S-23S rDNA spacer region (KJ623257) was 93% similar to that of another known strain of Pcc (CP003776). As a result, the strains were identified as Pcc (2). Pathogenicity of the nine strains was evaluated by spraying 1 ml of bacterial cell suspension (108 CFU/ml) onto healthy leaves and injecting 0.1 ml of cell suspension into stems of 3-year-old horn lian plants with a sterile pipette tip. Three seedlings were used for each strain and sterilized water served as negative controls. Pcc SMG-2 reference strain (from milk thistle) was also inoculated into horn lian leaves and stems. Inoculated plants were covered with plastic bags for 24 h in a greenhouse at 28 to 30°C. After 72 h, water-soaked lesions similar to the naturally infected plants were observed on leaves and stems inoculated by the nine isolated strains and Pcc SMG-2, while negative control plants remained symptomless. Biochemical tests and 16S rDNA sequence analysis confirmed that the re-isolated bacteria were Pcc. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Pcc causing bacterial soft rot of horn lian in Changchun, Jilin Province, China.
References: (1) Z. D. Fang. Research Method of Phytopathology. China Agricultural Press, 1998. (2) N. W. Schaad, et al. Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, 3rd ed. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2001.