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Pseudomonas corrugata Causing Pith Necrosis on Tomato Plants in Baja California Sur, México

May 2002 , Volume 86 , Number  5
Pages  563.2 - 563.2

G. Rodríguez-Alvarado , Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales (IIAF), Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo (UMSNH), Morelia, Michoacán 58240, México ; J. Holguín-Peña , and N. Ochoa-Álvarez , Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), Apdo. Postal 128, La Paz, BCS 23090, México ; S. P. Fernández-Pavía , Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales (IIAF), Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo (UMSNH), Morelia, Michoacán 58240, México ; and J. A. Geraldo-Verdugo , Sueño Tropical, Inc., Pescadero, BCS, México

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Accepted for publication 12 February 2002.

Fresh market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars are grown in field and greenhouse areas in Baja California Sur from October to June for international markets. During March and April 2001, field-grown tomato plants showing external necrotic stem lesions and hollowed necrotic pith were observed in a 50-ha field 30 km south of La Paz. The average disease incidence in the field was 3%. Most infected plants presented necrotic lesions in the main stem 20 to 30 cm above the soil line. A few plants also presented necrotic lesions in lateral branches. Transversally cut sections in the necrotic stem area showed rotting of the vascular system with hollow cavities, typical symptom of pith necrosis. To isolate the pathogen, 5-cm-long transverse portions of diseased stems were excised, washed with soap and brushed, and rinsed with tap water. The stem portions were soaked in 10% bleach for 2 min, blotted dry on sterile paper, and 1-cm2 sections were cut to include the margins of the necrotic pith. These sections were plated on nutrient agar and incubated at 28 to 30°C. Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria were consistently isolated from stems with pith necrosis. They were identified as Pseudomonas corrugata using Biolog analysis (carbon source utilization at 37°C), with a similarity index of 1.0. To confirm pathogenicity, experiments were conducted twice in a screenhouse on a total of 24 2-month-old tomato cv. Rutgers plants (50 to 60 cm tall). Bacteria were injected with a syringe into the stems above the point of lateral branching at two different sites, using 0.25 to 0.5 ml of a bacterial suspension (105 CFU/ml). Injection points were sealed after inoculation with a small amount of petroleum jelly. Necrotic lesions surrounding the point of injection were observed 10 days after inoculation. Four weeks after inoculation, plants showed necrotic pith symptoms similar to those observed on field-grown plants, and P. corrugata was recovered from the margins of areas with necrotic pith. Control plants, which were injected with water, remained healthy throughout the experiments. P. corrugata has been reported to cause pith necrosis in tomato plants in California (3), Florida (2), and the northern part of the Baja California peninsula (1). This report confirms the presence of P. corrugata in the Baja California peninsula, and to our knowledge, this is the first report of P. corrugata causing pith necrosis in tomato plants in the southern state of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

References: (1) N. B. Carroll et al. N.C. Agric. Res. Serv. Tech. Bull. No. 300, 1992. (2) J. B. Jones et al. Plant Dis. 67:425, 1983. (3) M. Lai et al. Plant Dis. 67:110, 1983.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society