First author: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Central Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka 32703; second author: Chase Research Gardens, Inc., Mt. Aukum, CA 95656; third and fourth authors: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611
Xanthomonas campestris pv. hederae (synonym X. hortorum pv. hederae) strains (59 total) were collected from plants in the araliaceae family. Strains were isolated from Hedera helix, Schefflera arboricola, Brassaia actinophylla, and Polyscias spp. from Florida, California, Hawaii, and New Zealand. All strains produced yellow mucoid growth; hydrolyzed esculin, starch, casein and gelatin; were pectolytic; produced urease; and grew on minimal media containing asparagine. All bacterial strains were pathogenic on H. helix (English ivy), B. actinophylla (dwarf schefflera), and Polyscias fruticosa (ming aralia). No differences in symptomatology were detected among strains; however, severity of symptoms usually was greatest on the host of origin. In planta growth rates of representative strains isolated from H. helix, B. actinophylla, and Polyscias spp. also were compared among these three hosts. In all cases, populations grew more rapidly when strains were inoculated to their original host species. All 59 bacterial strains were compared by 95-carbon source GN microplate, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), and restriction fragment-length polymorphisms (RFLP), with the pulse-field gel electrophoresis method, analyses. All three analyses grouped strains into two distinct groups that correlated with the host of origin. Using metabolic profiles, 75% of the H. helix strains were separated from strains isolated from Brassaia and Schefflera and 95% of the Polyscias strains. FAME analysis separated strains into two distinct groups, with 96% of the H. helix strains placed in one group. RFLP analysis placed all of the H. helix and Schefflera strains in one group, as well as 33% of the Brassaia strains, whereas the other group contained all of the Polyscias strains and the remainder of the Brassaia strains. It is apparent that the pathovar hederae is made up of heterogeneous populations that can be separated by biochemical, pathological, genetic, and physiological analyses into two groups that are closely associated with the host of origin.