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Poster: Biology & Disease Mgmt: Bacteriology


Exploration of biofilm formation and its potential link to virulence in the Goss’s wilt pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subspecies nebraskensis
M. BOTTI-MARINO (1), M. Botti-Marino (1), J. Jacobs (1), M. Chilvers (1), G. Sundin (1) (1) Michigan State University, U.S.A.

Goss’s wilt is a bacterial disease of corn that has re-emerged in the Corn Belt of the United States since 2006 and can cause up to 50% yield loss in extreme cases. Management of the disease is difficult, and little is known about the interaction of the causal bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis (Cmn) with its host. Bacterial cells are known to form simple to complex aggregations, termed biofilms, on biotic and abiotic surfaces, and biofilm formation contributes to the virulence of several plant pathogenic bacteria. We examined the occurrence of biofilm formation in Cmn, and the potential linkage of this phenotype to virulence. A total of 19 Cmn strains were screened for biofilm formation using two in vitro methods, quantification of biofilm formation on glass coverslips and scanning electron microscopy evaluation of biofilms produced on gold mesh grids. These strains were screened for virulence using stab and cut inoculation techniques on Goss’s wilt-susceptible corn hybrids and rated for disease symptoms 10 dpi. Results from these assays indicated variation in biofilm formation ability among strains. There did not appear to be a correlation between biofilm formation and virulence of the pathogen, suggesting that biofilm formation may play other roles in Cmn ecology.