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Presence of Ralstonia solanacearum cold virulent strains in the U.S. and mechanisms of virulence at low temperature
Ana Maria Bocsanczy: University of Florida MREC; David Norman: Univ of Florida MREC; Jose Huguet-Tapia: University of Florida; Arianna Mangravita-Novo: University of Florida MREC
<div>Climate change has a very diverse effect on different agricultural areas of the world. In southern United States, the consistent rise in temperature, longer planting periods, and extreme weather events are already favoring the introduction of tropical climate related diseases such as Bacterial Wilt caused by the bacterium <i>Ralstonia solanacearum</i>. We are documenting the increasing presence of strains introduced from the Caribbean that are capable of causing disease at lower temperatures than the usual tropical temperature range with the potential to further spread to northern states. The increase in temperature is also favoring the movement of tropical strains towards higher latitudes. This presence not only can increase the potential for epidemics in economical important crops such as tomato, and tobacco but also can increase the risk of acquiring low temperature virulence and of extending host ranges to include novel temperate climate hosts such as blueberry. It is very important to understand virulence at low temperature and its mechanisms. In our lab we used comparative proteomics, and genomics approaches to understand at molecular level this capability which until recently was assigned to only a monophyletic group of <i>R. solanacearum</i> [R3B2] which is not present in the United States. We are also studying Type 3 effectors that can be horizontally transferred between diverse strains extending their host range to include temperate climate plant crops.</div>

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