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First Report of Ralstonia solanacearum Causing Bacterial Wilt of Yacon in China

June 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  6
Pages  904.3 - 904.3

P. Li, X. X. Wu, and Z. Y. Wang, Faculty of Plant Protection, Yunnan Agricultural University (YAU), 650201 Kunming, Yunnan, China; H. H. Ho, Department of Biology, State University of New York, New Paltz 12561; and Y. X. Wu, Z. C. Mao and Y. Q. He, Faculty of Agronomy and Biotechnology, YAU, 650201 Kunming, Yunnan, China

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Accepted for publication 21 March 2012.

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is an important cash crop in Yunnan Province, China. In 2003, yacon was introduced to Yunnan province as a novelty root crop and as an experimental source of natural sugars; now more than 15 provinces cultivate the crop. Yunnan is one of the major yacon producing areas of China, with up to 10,000 ha yielding up to 50,000 t of yacon, which is nearly half of the production in China. In April and May 2010, bacterial wilt of yacon was observed in the fields of Lion Mountain of Wuding County, Yunnan Province, China. In 2011, the disease occurred in approximately 1 ha of yacon, resulting in 10% crop loss in that area. The initial symptoms observed were irregular, black, necrotic lesions on leaf margins. After 4 to 7 days, leaves became totally necrotic, plants wilted, and black stripes were observed on plant stems. Within 2 to 3 weeks, more than 70% of leaves within the crop were wilted. Subsequently, the plants died and stems became brittle. When dead plants were pulled from the soil, tubers were found to have turned black. When diseased stems and/or petioles were cut with a sterile sharp knife or razor blade, bacterial ooze appeared on the cut ends. High populations of morphologically uniform bacteria were isolated from the diseased plants by conventional methods. When cultured on TZC (2,3,5-Triphenylte tetrazolium chloride) agar medium (3), colonies were large, elevated, fluidal, and entirely white with a pale red center. The isolated bacterium was gram-negative, grew aerobically, and did not form endospores. The cells were 0.5 to 0.7 × 1.5 to 2.0 μm and nonencapsulated. Ralstonia solanacearum was identified and confirmed as the pathogen on the basis of morphological and physiological characteristics, pathogenicity test, and 16S rDNA sequence analysis (1,4). The nucleotide sequence is available in GenBank (Accession No. HQ176322.1). The pathogenic strain belonged to race 1 and biovar 3 according to the pathogenicity and carbohydrate utilization tests (2). Koch's postulates were tested in the greenhouse, with 10 plants inoculated per species. Plants were inoculated with 15 μl of cell suspension containing 106 to 107 CFU ml–1 deposited into the third axilla with a capillary tube. The bacteria could infect tomato, pepper, tobacco, potato, common sage (Salvia dugesii Fernald), and patchouli, and caused typical symptoms of wilt and black lesions, but could not infect leaves of swamp mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta Smith), stramonium (Dature stramonium Datura L.), ginger, or maize. To our knowledge, this is the first report of yacon as a host of R. solanacearum. Since the pathogen has a wide host range, monitoring of the vegetation in and around yacon fields should be implemented as a mandatory management measure to prevent disease spread.

References: (1) C. A. Boucher et al. J. Bacteriol. 169:5626, 1987. (2) A. C. Hayward. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 27:265, 1964. (3) A. Kelman. Phytopathology 44:693, 1954. (4) W. G. Weisburg et al. J. Bacteriol. 173:697, 1991.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society