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Diversity Among Ralstonia solanacearum Strains Isolated from the Southeastern United States

October 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  10
Pages  924 - 936

Jason C. Hong, David J. Norman, David L. Reed, M. Timur Momol, and Jeffrey B. Jones

First author: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), Gainesville, 32611; second author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, IFAS, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, 2725 Binion Rd., Apopka, 32703; third author: Florida Museum of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville; fourth author: Plant Pathology Department, North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Quincy 32351; and fifth author: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, IFAS, Gainesville.

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Accepted for publication 5 June 2012.

This is the first comprehensive study of a collection of Ralstonia solanacearum strains from the southeastern United States to be characterized based on biovar, pathogenicity, hypersensitive reaction on tobacco, and phylogenetic analyses of the egl sequence. Rigorous phylogenetic analysis of the commonly used egl gene produced robust phylogenies that differed significantly from a neighbor-joining tree differed from and previously published phylogenies for R. solanacearum strains. These robust trees placed phylotype IV within the phylotype I clade, which may suggest that phylogenies based solely on egl may be misleading. As a result of phylogenetic analyses in this study, we determined that U.S. strains from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and older Florida strains isolated from solanaceous crops all belong to phylotype II sequevar 7. However, many strains recently isolated in Florida from tomato and other crops were more diverse than the southeastern United States population. These unique Florida strains grouped with strains mostly originating from the Caribbean and Central America. One of the exotic strains, which in a previous study was determined to be established in northern Florida, was characterized more extensively. Upon using Musa-specific multiplex polymerase chain reaction, this strain produced a unique banding pattern, which has not previously been reported. Inoculation of this strain into Musa spp. did not result in wilt symptoms; however, the plants were stunted and root masses were significantly reduced. Furthermore, following root inoculation, the bacterium, unlike a typical Florida race 1 biovar 1 strain, was recovered from the roots and stems, indicating systemic movement. This is the first report of an R. solanacearum strain isolated in the United States that is deleterious to the growth of Musa plants.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society