Pierce A. Paul, and
Sally A. Miller
First, third, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, and second author: Food and Animal Health Research Program, The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster 44691.
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Accepted for publication 13 September 2011.
Tomato bacterial canker, caused by Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis, is transmitted by infected or infested seed and mechanically from plant to plant. Wounds occurring during seedling production and crop maintenance facilitate the dissemination of the pathogen. However, the effects of environmental factors on C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis translocation and growth as an endophyte have not been fully elucidated. A virulent, stable, constitutively bioluminescent C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis strain BL-Cmm 17 coupled with an in vivo imaging system allowed visualization of the C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis colonization process in tomato seedlings in real time. The dynamics of bacterial infection in seedlings through wounds were compared under low (45%) and high (83%) relative humidity. Bacteria multiplied rapidly in cotyledon petioles remaining after clip inoculation and moved in the stem toward both root and shoot. Luminescent signals were also observed in tomato seedling roots over time, and root development was reduced in inoculated plants maintained under both humidity regimes. Wilting was more severe in seedlings under high-humidity regimes. A strong positive correlation between light intensity and bacterial population in planta suggests that bioluminescent C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis strains will be useful in evaluating the efficacy of bactericides and host resistance.
© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society