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Classification and Identification of Xanthomonas translucens Isolates, Including Those Pathogenic to Ornamental Asparagus

August 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  8
Pages  876 - 884

J. L. W. Rademaker , D. J. Norman , R. L. Forster , F. J. Louws , M. H. Schultz , and F. J. de Bruijn

First, fifth, and sixth authors: MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824; second author: Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Apopka 32703; third author: University of Idaho Research and Extension Center, Kimberly 83341; fourth author: Department Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695; and sixth author: Department of Microbiology and NSF Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University

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Accepted for publication 29 March 2006.

In order to confirm and refine the current classification scheme of Xanthomonas translucens and to identify novel strains from ornamental asparagus, a collection of field and reference strains was analyzed. Rep-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genomic fingerprint profiles were generated from 33 isolates pathogenic to asparagus as well as 61 X. trans-lucens reference strains pathogenic to cereals and grasses. Amplified ribo-somal gene restriction analysis profiles were obtained from most of these and 29 additional Xanthomonas reference strains. Rep-PCR genomic fingerprint profiles of all strains were compared with those in a large Xanthomonas database using computer-assisted analysis. Rep-PCR ge-nomic fingerprinting facilitated the characterization and discrimination of X. translucens, including the pathovars arrhenatheri, graminis, phlei, phleipratensis, and poae, as well as a number of strains received as X. translucens pv. cerealis. Strains received as pathovars hordei, secalis, translucens, undulosa, and other cerealis strains were grouped in two subclusters that correspond to the recently redefined pathovars X. trans-lucens pvs. undulosa and translucens. All 33 novel isolates from ornamental asparagus (tree fern; Asparagus virgatus) were identified as X. translucens pv. undulosa. Moreover, a unique amplified small subunit ribosomal gene MspI/AluI restriction profile specific for all X. translucens strains tested, including those pathogenic to asparagus, allowed discrimination from all other Xanthomonas spp. Although phage tests were inconclusive, the classification of the asparagus strains within the X. translucens complex was supported by pathogenicity assays in which all the isolates from ornamental asparagus induced watersoaking on wheat. Surprisingly, several X. translucens reference strains affected asparagus tree fern as well. That the novel asparagus isolates belong to X. translucens pv. undulosa is extraordinary because all hosts of X. translucens pathovars described to date belong only to the families Gramineae and Poaceae, whereas asparagus belongs to the phylogenetically distant family Liliaceae.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society