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Nontoxigenic Strains of Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola Are a Main Cause of Halo Blight of Beans in Spain and Escape Current Detection Methods

December 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  12
Pages  1,553 - 1,559

Arantza Rico , Ruth López , Carmen Asensio , M. Teresa Aizpún , M. Carmen Asensio-S.-Manzanera , and Jesús Murillo

First, fourth, and sixth authors: Laboratorio de Patología Vegetal, Departamento de Producción Agraria, ETS Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Pública de Navarra, 31006 Pamplona, Spain; and second, third, and fifth authors: Servicio de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria, Consejería de Agricultura y Ganadería, Junta de Castilla y León, 47080 Valladolid, Spain

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Accepted for publication 9 July 2003.

From a collection of 152 pseudomonads isolated from diseased beans in Spain, 138 (91%) of the strains were identified as Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola and the rest as P. syringae pv. syringae. The P. syringae pv. phaseolicola strains produced typical water-soaked lesions on bean pods, although 95 of them did not produce phaseolotoxin in vitro. Ninety-four of these isolates did not produce the expected 0.5-kb product after polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using primers specific for open reading frame (ORF) 6 of the phaseolotoxin (tox) gene cluster and did not contain DNA homologous to ORF 6 in Southern hybridization experiments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the widespread occurrence in the field of strains of P. syringae pv. phaseolicola lacking the tox cluster, which contrasts sharply with the general belief that Tox+ isolates are the only ones with epidemiological importance. Additionally, the tox- isolates were not specifically detected by a commercial polyclonal antisera in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Accordingly, it is possible that the certification of seed lots as free of the pathogen cannot be reliably done in Spain, or in any other country where tox- strains might occur frequently, using current PCR or serological protocols. The amplification of three avirulence genes by PCR allowed us to make predictions of the P. syringae pv. phaseolicola race structure, as confirmed by plant assays. Six races (races 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9) were identified, with race 7 being the most prevalent (46.1%) followed by races 6 (21.3%) and 1 (9.0%). All the tox- isolates contained gene avrPphF, typical of races 1, 5, 7, and 9.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society