Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) common scab can be caused by multiple Streptomyces spp., with S. scabies as a predominant species (2,3). However, according to our survey in August 2007, many symptomatic potato tubers did not have S. scabies in Michigan. To identify the pathogen, potato tubers with scab symptoms were collected from two fields in Michigan, and Streptomyces spp. were isolated using Streptomyces selective medium (STR) (2). Pure cultures of the isolates were obtained by transferring single colonies and incubation at 28°C on STR. Three isolates, designated HER21, HER24, and HER26, were identified as Streptomyces stelliscabiei based on morphological and physiological characterization (1). Bacterial cultures were prepared in liquid yeast malt extract at 28°C on an incubator shaker at 150 rpm. Genomic DNA was extracted from the cultures and used as a template for PCR with species-specific primers for Streptomyces spp. (4). The isolates gave a positive PCR reaction with primers Stel3 and T2st2 for S. stelliscabiei, but negative for any other Streptomyces spp. reported as pathogenic to potato. The 16S rRNA genes were amplified using primers previously reported (4) and amplicons were sequenced and submitted to GenBank (Accession Nos. HM018115, HM018116, and HM018117 for the three isolates, respectively). BLAST analysis of these sequences against the NCBI GenBank database determined these sequences to have 99 to 100% sequence identity with S. stelliscabiei sequences such as Accession No. FJ546728 (4). These isolates were all confirmed by PCR, using the same conditions described above, to have txtAB, nec1, and tomA genes (4), which are associated with pathogenicity of scab-causing Streptomyces spp. To complete Koch's postulates, cell suspensions of the isolates were mixed in vermiculate media (3) at a final concentration of 106 colony-forming units/ml, which were used as inocula. Potato (cv Snowden) tubers were incubated in sterilized potting mix in a growth chamber at 25°C until the seed germinated. Each potato seedling was transferred to a new pot in the greenhouse. Two weeks later, the potting mix was infested with the bacterial spore suspensions of either HER21, HER24, or HER26, with five pots per isolate. Potting mix with only media or media with S. scabies isolate 49173 were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. Three months later, potato tubers were harvested and evaluated for scab symptoms (3). The experiment was done twice. Potato tubers inoculated with either S. stelliscabiei or S. scabies exhibited superficial, raised, or pitted scabby symptoms, and no symptoms were observed on tubers grown in noninfested potting mix. Disease index values from the combined trials averaged 0, 37.8, 26.5, 11.1, and 30.5% for negative control and isolates HER21, HER24, HER26, and 49173, respectively. The pathogen was reisolated from the lesions and confirmed identical to the original isolate by DNA sequences. To our knowledge, this is the first report of S. stelliscabiei causing potato common scab in Michigan (4).
References: (1) K. Bouchek-Mechiche et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 50:91, 2000. (2) Conn et al. Plant Dis. 82:631, 1998. (3) Hao et al. Plant Dis. 93:1329, 2009. (4) L. A. Wanner. Am. J. Potato Res. 86:247, 2009.