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Investigating Intraspecific Variation of Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli Using DNA Fingerprinting and Whole Cell Fatty Acid Analysis

February 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  2
Pages  191 - 196

R. R. Walcott , D. B. Langston , Jr. , F. H. Sanders , Jr. , and R. D. Gitaitis

University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton 31793

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Accepted for publication 3 November 1999.

To assess the diversity of Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli, 121 strains from watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin were compared using pulse field gel electrophoresis of SpeI-digested DNA and gas chromatographic analysis of fatty acid methyl esters. Twenty-nine unique DNA fragments resulted from DNA digestion, and 14 distinct haplotypes were observed. Based on cluster analysis, two subgroups, I and II, were recognized, which accounted for 84.8% (eight haplotypes) and 15.2% (six haplotypes) of the strains, respectively. Results of cellular fatty acid analysis varied quantitatively and qualitatively for the A. avenae subsp. citrulli strains and supported the existence of the two subgroups. Group I includes strains from cantaloupe and pumpkin as well as the ATCC type strain, which was first described in the United States in 1978, whereas group II represents the typical watermelon fruit blotch-causing strains that appeared in the mainland United States in 1989. Knowledge of the two A. avenae subsp. citrulli groups may be useful in screening for watermelon fruit blotch resistance.

Additional keywords: Citrullus lanatus.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society