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First Report of Agrobacterium vitis as the Causal Agent of Grapevine Crown Gall in Serbia

February 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  2
Pages  286.1 - 286.1

N. Kuzmanović, A. Ćalić, M. Ivanović, and K. Gašić, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Agriculture, Institute of Phytomedicine, Plant Pathology Department, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia; J. Pulawska, Research Institute of Horticulture, ul. Pomologiczna 18, 96-100 Skierniewice, Poland; and A. Obradović, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Agriculture, Institute of Phytomedicine, Plant Pathology Department, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia. This research was supported by the project III46008 financed by Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Serbia, and COST Action 873

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Accepted for publication 25 October 2011.

In November 2010, a serious outbreak of crown gall disease was observed on 3-year-old grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cv. Cabernet Sauvignon grafted onto Kober 5BB rootstock in two commercial vineyards located in the South Banat District in Serbia. Large, aerial tumors were visible above the grafting point on grapevine trunks, and in most cases, the tumors completely girdled the trunk. From the gall tissues, white, circular, and glistening bacterial colonies were isolated on yeast mannitol agar medium. Eight, nonfluorescent, gram-negative, and oxidase-positive strains were isolated from seven tumor samples and selected for further identification. PCR assays with A/C′ (1) and VCF3/VCR3 (4) primers corresponding to the virD2 and virC genes yielded 224- and 414-bp fragments, respectively, confirming that the strains harbored the plasmid responsible for pathogenicity. The strains were differentiated to the species/biovar level with a multiplex PCR assay targeting 23S rRNA gene sequences (3) and were identified as Agrobacterium vitis. The 16S rDNA gene sequence from one isolate (GenBank Accession No. JN185718) showed 99% identity to the sequences of A. vitis previously deposited in NCBI GenBank database. The physiological and biochemical test results corresponded to the results of genetic analysis (2). The strains grew at 35°C and in nutrient broth supplemented with 2% NaCl. They were negative in 3-ketolactose, acid clearing on PDA supplemented with CaCO3, and ferric ammonium citrate tests; nonmotile at pH 7.0; pectolytic at pH 4.5; utilized citrate; produced acid from sucrose and alkali from tartarate. Pathogenicity was confirmed by inoculation of three plants per bacterial strain on grapevine cv. Cabernet Franc and on a local cultivar of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.). The plants were inoculated on the stem by pricking one to three times through a drop of inoculum (108 CFU/ml) at three inoculation sites. Sterile distilled water was used as a negative control. Inoculated plants were maintained in a greenhouse at 24 ± 3°C. Typical tumors developed at the inoculation sites on tomatoes 3 weeks after inoculation and on grapevine 6 weeks after inoculation. No symptoms were observed on the control plants. Bacteria were reisolated from tumorigenic tissues and identified as pathogenic A. vitis by PCR. Crown gall disease was sporadically observed in vineyards in Serbia in previous years, but did not cause significant damage. Therefore, the causal agent was not studied in detail. To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. vitis determined as the causal agent of grapevine crown gall in Serbia.

References: (1) J. H. Haas et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:2879, 1995. (2) L. W. Moore et al. Page 17 in: Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. 3rd ed. N. W. Schaad et al., eds. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2001. (3) J. Pulawska et al. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 29:470, 2006. (4) K. Suzaki et al. J. Gen. Plant Pathol. 70:342, 2004.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society