In July 2010 in Texas, extensive leaf spots (10 to 30% leaf area affected) occurred on a commercial planting of sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) in Hidalgo County and to a lesser extent (1 to 5% leaf area) on leaves of several varieties in experimental trials in Colorado and Victoria Counties. The leaf spots were light to dark brown, somewhat circular, and 1 to 3 mm in diameter. A symptomatic leaf from each of three to five plants per county was sampled for isolations. Leaves were sprayed with 70% ethanol and immediately blotted dry with a paper towel. The margins of spots (2 mm2) were excised with a scalpel and placed in a drop of sterile water for 5 min. Drops were streaked on nutrient agar (NA) and incubated at 30°C. The 12 isolations consistently yielded gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria with yellow, translucent colonies that were visible after 2 days of incubation. The DNA of 11 isolates was extracted with the Norgen (Thorold, ON) Bacterial genomic DNA isolation kit (Cat. #17900) and the ITS region was amplified by 16S uni 1330 and 23S uni 322 anti primers (1). PCR products were treated with the ZymoResearch (Irvine, CA) DNA clean & concentrator kit (Cat. #D4003) and sequenced. With the NCBI database, a BLAST search of the 1,100 bp amplicons showed 93 to 99% identity with pathovars of either Xanthomonas oryzae or X. axonopodis (GenBank Accession Nos. CP003057.1 and CP002914.1, respectively). Amplicon sequences of the sesame isolates were deposited in GenBank as Accession Nos. JQ975037 through JQ975047. The reported species on sesame is X. campestris pv. sesami (2). To fulfill Koch's postulates, potted sesame plants (var. Sesaco 25), 15 to 20 cm tall, were sprayed until runoff with a suspension of bacteria (106 to 107 CFU/ml) from a 2-day-old NA culture. All 12 isolates were evaluated, with five to seven plants per isolate. Plants were maintained in a mist chamber in a greenhouse at 27 to 30°C and 100% relative humidity. The pathogenicity trial was repeated once. Leaf spots were first seen 7 days after inoculation and were prevalent 14 days after inoculation. All 12 isolates were pathogenic. There were no symptoms on leaves sprayed with sterile water. Bacteria that produced colonies consistent with Xanthomonas were reisolated on NA from symptomatic leaves but not from controls. The identities of three isolates were reconfirmed with PCR analysis and sequencing. In 2007, more than 2,000 ha of sesame were grown in the continental United States, with 80% of that in Texas. Currently, acreage of shatter-free varieties of sesame is increasing in arid areas of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In such areas, the yield impact of this disease is likely to be minimal, except in years with above-average rainfall. To our knowledge, this is the first report of this disease in the United States.
References: (1) E. R. Gonçalves and Y. B. Rosato. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52:355, 2002. (2) J. M. Young et al., New Zealand J. Agric. Res. 21:153, 1978.