Bacterial leaf scorch caused by Xylella fastidiosa has been reported in 17 species of oak including bur, pin, red, scarlet, shingle, and white oaks (3). In September 2002, a leaf scorch symptom characterized by marginal necrosis of leaves bordered by a darker brown band was observed in a mature black oak (Quercus velutina Lam.) at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The leaf petiole of the black oak was processed in general extraction buffer (Agdia, Inc., Elkhart, IN) contained in a FastDNA lysing matrix tube using the FastPrep FP120 instrument (Qbiogene, Inc., Carlsbad, CA) (1). The leaf petiole extract reacted with an antiserum specific for X. fastidiosa (Agadia, Inc.) in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A slow-growing bacterium was cultured from leaf petioles of the affected black oak tree by soaking the surface-sterilized, finely cut leaf petioles in sterile water for 30 min, followed by spreading the bacterial suspension on periwinkle wilt plates (1). When the cultured bacterium was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with primers specific for X. fastidiosa (2), a 472-bp PCR product was detected. The PCR product was confirmed to be the predicted X. fastidiosa product by sequencing and sequence comparison with the reported genomic sequence of X. fastidiosa. ELISA and bacterial isolation from leaf petioles of a nearby symptomless white oak (Q. alba L.) tree were negative. To our knowledge, this is the first report of X. fastidiosa associated with leaf scorch in black oak in the United States, expanding the host range of the bacterium in economically important landscape tree species.
References: (1) Q. Huang and J. L. Sherald. Curr. Microbiol. 48:73, 2004. (2) M. R. Pooler and J. S. Hartung. Curr. Microbiol. 31:377, 1995. (3) J. L. Sherald. Xylella fastidiosa, A bacterial pathogen of landscape trees. Page 191 in: Shade Tree Wilt Diseases, C. L. Ash, ed. The American Phytopathological Society, 2001.