Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Cukurova University, 01330 Adana, Turkey
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Ataturk University, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Ege University, 35100 Izmir, Turkey
Severe leaf and stem necrosis symptoms were observed on watermelon seedlings (Citrullus lanatus cv. Euroca) in Adana, Turkey during a warm and humid period in January 2004. Streak-plate isolations were made from leaf and stem lesions on King's medium B. A fluorescent, yellowish mucoid, gram-negative, and oxidase-, levan- and arginin dihydrolase-negative bacterium was consistently isolated from diseased plant samples. All seven representative strains isolated were pectolytic on potato slices and hypersensitive reaction positive on tobacco leaves. The result of LOPAT tests and morphology of the strains were different from Pseudomonas syringae pathovars. The strains produced acid from sorbitol, fructose, glucose, L (+) arabinose, D (+) xylose, D (-) mannitol, but not from D (+) sucrose, trehalose, maltose, melibiose, lactose, and D (-) arabinose. Utilization of D (-) tartrate was positive. Incubation was at 28°C, and the results of the tests were evaluated 7 days after inoculation. Fatty acid analysis (Ataturk University, Erzurum, Turkey) confirmed the bacterial strains as P. viridiflava with a similarity index of 83 to 86% (3). The strains were pathogenic on watermelon, melon, and tomato plants with needle inoculation of bacterial suspensions containing 108CFU ml-1 in a 0.85% saline. Water-soaking and stem necrosis symptoms were observed on the inoculated plants 5 to 7 days after inoculation. The bacterium was readily reisolated from inoculated plants and identified as strains of P. viridiflava, which has been previously reported as a pathogen of melon grown in Turkey (1) and Greece (2). To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the occurrence and outbreak of leaf and stem necrosis disease caused by P. viridiflava on watermelon in the world.
References: (1) A. Aysan et al. Plant Pathol. 52:800, 2003. (2) D. E. Goumans and A. K. Chatzaki. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 104:181, 1998. (3) J. D. Janse et al. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 15:538, 1992.