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Bacterial Blight on Arugula, a New Disease Caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. Alisalensis in California

December 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  12
Pages  1,384.1 - 1,384.1

C. T. Bull and P. Goldman , U.S. Agricultural Research Station, Salinas, CA 93905 ; and S. T. Koike , University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas 93901

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Accepted for publication 31 August 2004.

Beginning in 1995, a leaf spot disease has occasionally developed on the leafy crucifer arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa) that is grown in coastal California as a fresh market commodity used mostly in bagged salad mixes. Initially, symptoms consist of small (<2 mm in diameter), angular, water-soaked spots that are visible from both sides of the leaf. The spots later enlarge, remain angular in shape, and turn brown to tan. A purple margin sometimes occurs around the spots. An important diagnostic feature is that this disease closely resembles downy mildew infections that have not produced sporangia (3). A blue-green fluorescent pseudomonad was consistently isolated from both types of lesions on King's medium B. Strains were levan positive, oxidase negative, and arginine dihydrolase negative. Strains did not rot potato slices but induced a hypersensitive reaction on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Turk). These data indicated that the bacteria belonged to Lelliot's LOPAT group 1 (4). This was confirmed with data from fatty acid methyl ester analysis (MIS-TSBA version 4.10; MIDI, Inc., Newark, DE), which indicated that the strains were highly similar (similarity > = 0.758) to Pseudomonas syringae. Amplification of repetitive bacterial sequence-based polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR) was used to determine the relationship between the P. syringae strains isolated from arugula and two common crucifer pathogens, P. syringae pv. maculicola and P. syringae pv. alisalensis (1). Using the BOXA1R primer, banding patterns for the arugula strains and the P. syringae pv. alisalensis pathotype were similar, differing by only one band. In contrast, the banding patterns of the arugula strains differed significantly from those of P. syringae pv. maculicola. Additionally, the arugula isolates were sensitive to a bacteriophage originally isolated for its ability to lyse P. syringae pv. alisalensis (1). Previously, the pathogen from arugula was reported to be P. syringae pv. maculicola (2). It is the intent of this disease note to clarify this identification. We completed Koch's postulates by confirming pathogenicity on arugula (cv. Rocket Salad). The strains were grown as nutrient broth shake cultures for 48 h at 24°C, adjusted to 108 CFU/ml, and misted onto 2- to 3-week old plants. Control plants were misted with sterile nutrient broth. After 4 to 5 days in a greenhouse (24 to 26°C), large, angular leaf lesions developed on all inoculated arugula plants. Strains were reisolated from symptomatic tissue and identified as P. syringae pv. alisalensis. Control plants remained symptomless. Similar methods confirmed that the host range of the arugula isolates were identical to that of P. syringae pv. alisalensis. The arugula and P. syringae pv. alisalensis isolates caused disease on broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis cvs. Patriot and Titleist), broccoli raab (B. rapa subsp. rapa cv. Sorento), and oats (Avena sativa cv. Montezuma), while P. syringae pv. maculicola caused disease on broccoli only. Pathogenicity tests were conducted two times with identical results. This confirms that the bacterial blight that has been occurring on commercial plantings of arugula is caused by P. syringae pv. alisalensis.

References: (1) N. A. Cintas et al.Plant Dis. 86:992, 2002. (2) S. T. Koike et al. Plant Dis. 80:464, 1996. (3) S. T. Koike. Plant Dis. 82:1063, 1998. (4) R. A. Lelliott, J. Appl. Bacteriol. 29:470, 1966.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society