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Distribution of Xylella fastidiosa in Sycamore Associated with Low Temperature and Host Resistance

September 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  9
Pages  951 - 958

T. S. M. Henneberger and K. L. Stevenson , Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-7274 ; K. O. Britton , United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Southern Research Station, Athens, GA 30602-2044 ; and C. J. Chang , Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Georgia Experiment Station, Griffin 30223-1797

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Accepted for publication 14 April 2004.

Experiments were conducted in the field and laboratory to determine effects of low temperatures on Xylella fastidiosa populations in American sycamore. Roots and shoots from naturally infected trees at two locations were collected monthly. Sap extracted from the samples was tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for presence of X. fastidosa and was diluted and plated on periwinkle wilt medium to determine populations of viable bacteria. Cumulative rainfall and hours below temperature thresholds (-5 to 10°C) were recorded at each site. Bacterial populations in shoots were negatively correlated with cumulative hours below -5°C air temperature (r= -0.96). In roots, bacterial populations were only weakly correlated with cumulative hours below soil temperature thresholds (-0.61 < r <-0.25). Bacterial populations were not correlated with monthly rainfall. In the laboratory, resistant and susceptible sycamore trees were inoculated with X. fastidiosa and held in the dark at 5°C or 22°C. After 12 weeks, inoculated stem sections were collected and sap was extracted and tested as described previously. Stems that tested positive for X. fastidiosa were divided into additional samples and tested as described above. Results of the laboratory study indicated no significant effects of low-temperature treatment (5°C) or host resistance on viable bacteria. Bacterial detection frequency and population size were greatest near the inoculation point and the primary direction of early bacterial spread was acropetal.

Additional keywords: mechanical inoculation, sycamore decline

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society