B. Li, State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and Insects, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China;
G. L. Wang, Department of Life Science, Zhejiang Wanli University, Ningbo 315100, China;
Z. Y. Wu, Zhejiang Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Hangzhou 310012, China; and
Q. M. Tang, and
G. L. Xie, State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and Insects, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China
During warm and humid periods in the winters from 2005 to 2008, head rot symptoms on broccoli (cv. Sijilv) (Brassica oleracea L. var italica Planch) were observed in commercial fields in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China. In agreement with the report of Cui and Harling (1), water-soaked lesions developed on the buds and then progressed into a brown-black soft rot. Longitudinal sections of the symptomatic inflorescences showed brown discoloration and rotting of the internal tissues. Broccoli production is hampered by the disease, with disease incidence ranging from 65 to 81%. Bacteria were isolated by streaking on nutrient agar (3) and individual colonies formed after 2 to 3 days of incubation at 28°C. Fifteen of thirty isolates induced hypersensitive reactions (HR) on tobacco leaves (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Samsun) within 48 h. All the HR-positive strains were fluorescent on King's medium B and the colonies were smooth, convex, entire, and round. Classical bacteriological tests indicated that the fluorescent strains were gram negative, obligate aerobes, arginine dihydrolase positive, and oxidase positive. Also, the fluorescent strains were positive for the production of levan from sucrose. Five representative strains were further characterized by the Biolog Microbial Identification System, version 4.2 (Biolog Inc., Hayward, CA) and gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) using the Microbial Identification System (MIDI Inc., Newark, DE) with the aerobic bacterial library (TSBA50). The five strains were identified as Pseudomonas fluorescens with Biolog and FAME similarity indexes of 0.61 to 0.68 and 0.52 to 0.58, respectively. The 16S rRNA gene sequence of broccoli strain PFB-01 (GenBank Accession No. GQ352649) was determined according to Li et al. (2). A subsequent GenBank search showed that this sequence had 98% nucleotide identity with the type strain of P. fluorescens (ATCC 17386T, GenBank Accession No. AF094726). Koch's postulates were completed by the inoculation of broccoli heads (cv. Sijilv) with cell suspensions (107 CFU/ml) of the above five strains by spraying on the surface of subcorymbs. Each treatment had five replicates. All strains induced head rot symptoms similar to those observed in natural infections. No symptoms were noted on the control plants inoculated with sterile water. Bacteria were successfully reisolated from symptomatic heads and confirmed by the cellular fatty acid composition. To our knowledge, this is the first report in China that P. fluorescens is the causal pathogen of bacterial head rot of broccoli.
References: (1) X. Cui and R. Harling. Phytopathology 96:408, 2006. (2) B. Li et al. J. Phytopathol. 154:711, 2006. (3) N. W. Schaad et al. Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. 3rd ed. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 2001.