In September 2011, bacterial leaf spot was observed on zinnia plants (Zinnia elegans L.) grown in a garden in Suwon, Korea. Leaf symptoms included angular lesions that were yellow or brown-to-reddish brown in the center. Bacterial isolates (BC3293 to BC3299) were recovered on trypticase soy agar from lesions surface-sterilized in 70% ethyl alcohol for 1 min. Pathogenicity of the isolates was confirmed by spray inoculation with a bacterial suspension (106 CFU/ml) prepared in sterile distilled water and applied to zinnia plants at the four- to five-leaf growth stage (two plants per isolate). Sterile distilled water was used as the negative control. The inoculated plants were incubated in a greenhouse at 26 to 30°C and 95% relative humidity. Characteristic leaf spot symptoms developed on inoculated zinnia plants 5 days after inoculation. No symptoms were observed on the negative control plants. The bacterium reisolated from the inoculated leaves was confirmed through gyrB gene sequence analysis (3). All isolates were gram-negative, aerobic rods, each with a single flagellum. Isolates were positive for catalase and negative for oxidase. The biochemical and physiological tests for differentiation of Xanthomonas were performed using methods described by Shaad et al. (2). The isolates were positive for mucoid growth on yeast extract-dextrose-calcium carbonate agar, growth at 35°C, hydrolysis of starch and esculin, protein digestion, acid production from arabitol, and utilization of glycerol and melibiose. Colonies were negative for ice nucleation, and alkaline in litmus milk. The gyrB gene (870 bp) and the 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions (884 bp) were sequenced to aid in identification of the original field isolates using published PCR primer sets Xgyr1BF/Xgyr1BR (3) and A1/B1 (1), respectively. Sequence of the gyrB gene (GenBank Accession Nos. JQ665732 to JQ665738) from the zinnia field isolates shared 100% sequence identity with the reference strain of Xanthomonas campestris pv. zinniae (GenBank Accession No. EU285210), and the ITS sequences (GenBank Accession Nos. JQ665725 to JQ665731) had 99.9% sequence identity with X. campestris pv. zinnia XCZ-1 (GenBank Accession No. EF514223). On the basis of the pathogenicity assays, biochemical and physiological tests, and sequence analyses, the isolates were identified as X. campestris pv. zinniae. To our knowledge, this is the first report of bacterial leaf spot of zinnia caused by X. campestris pv. zinniae in Korea. The disease is expected to result in economic and aesthetic losses to plants in Korean landscapes. Thus, seed treatment with bactericides will be required to control the bacterial leaf spot of zinnia before planting.
References: (1) T. Barry et al. The PCR Methods Appl. 1:51, 1991. (2) N. W. Schaad et al. Page 189 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. M. Young et al. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 31:366, 2008.