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A Survey of Genetic Variation in Streptomyces Isolates Causing Potato Common Scab in the United States

December 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  12
Pages  1,363 - 1,371

Leslie A. Wanner

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services Vegetable Lab, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705

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Accepted for publication 10 July 2006.

Common scab is a serious disease of potatoes and other root and tuber crops, affecting crop quality and market value. The disease is caused by gram positive soil bacteria in the genus Streptomyces. Disease incidence and severity vary in different locations and years; this is due in part to variation in the environment (weather) and genetic variation in potato cultivars. Little information is available on the contribution of genetic variation by the pathogen. To examine genetic diversity in different locations within the United States, streptomycetes were isolated from lesions on field-grown potatoes from six states. Isolates were classified into species based on sequence of variable regions in the 16s rRNA gene. The presence of genes associated with the recently described S. turgidiscabies pathogenicity island (PAI) was also determined. About half of the isolates belonged to S. scabies or S. europaeiscabiei based on 16s rDNA sequence, and had characteristic features of the PAI. They were found in all six states, and were pathogenic on potato and radish. The remaining isolates included pathogens and nonpathogens. They were varied in appearance, and represent several species, including one pathogenic species not previously reported. Some pathogenic isolates lacked one or more genes characteristic of the PAI, although all had genes for biosynthesis of the pathogenicity determinant thaxtomin. In this relatively small survey, regional differences in scab-causing streptomycetes were seen. This report furnishes tools and baseline data for population genetic study of scab-causing streptomycetes in the United States.

Additional keywords: pathogenicity island markers, Solanum tuberosum, Streptomyces acidiscabies.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2006