J. M. Crosslin, USDA-ARS, Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit, Prosser, WA 99350;
N. Olsen, University of Idaho, Twin Falls Research and Extension Center, Twin Falls 83303; and
P. Nolte, University of Idaho, Idaho Falls Research and Extension Center, Idaho Falls 83402
In September 2011, potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers graded in a packing facility in south-central Idaho were observed with internal discolorations suggestive of zebra chip disease (ZC). Symptoms were observed in 1 to 2% of tubers of cv. Russet Norkotah and included brown spots and streaks especially in and near the vascular tissue. Some tubers also showed a dark and sunken stolon attachment typical of ZC (1). Initially, tissue samples were taken from seven symptomatic tubers and tested by PCR for “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, the bacterium associated with ZC. Primers specific for the 16S rDNA (primers CLipoF  and OI2c ) and the outer membrane protein (OMB 1482f and 2086r) (2) were used. Six of these samples were positive for the bacterium. The amplified 16S rDNA and OMB products from two symptomatic tubers of cv. Russet Norkotah were cloned and three clones of each were sequenced. The 16S sequences (1,071 bp; GenBank Accession Nos. JN848755 and JN848756) from the two tubers varied by one nucleotide and had 99 to 100% sequence identity to numerous “Ca. L. solanacearum” sequences in GenBank (e.g., Accession Nos. HM246509, FJ957897, and EU935004). Sequences of the two OMB clones (605 bp; GenBank Accession Nos. JN848757 and JN848758) had 97% sequence identity to the two “Ca. L. solanacearum” OMB sequences in GenBank (Accession Nos. CP002371 and FJ914617). Six of eight additional symptomatic field-collected cv. Russet Norkotah tubers corresponding to tubers collected in the packing facility were also positive for “Ca. L. solanacearum” by PCR. Additional severely symptomatic tubers of cvs. Russet Burbank, Yukon Gold, and raw cut French fries of Ranger Russet produced in south-central Idaho were subsequently tested by PCR and were found to be positive for “Ca. L. solanacearum” as well. On the basis of the symptoms, specific PCR amplification with two distinct primer pairs and DNA sequence analysis, zebra chip disease caused by “Ca. L. solanacearum” was determined to be present in Idaho. This disease has caused significant economic damage to potatoes in many regions, including Texas, Mexico, Central America, and New Zealand (1). Idaho is the largest potato-producing state in the United States, with over 150,000 ha planted this year, and therefore, ZC potentially poses a significant risk to agriculture in this state.
References: (1) J. M. Crosslin et al. Online publication. doi:10.1094/PHP-2010-0317-01-RV, Plant Health Progress, 2010. (2) J. M. Crosslin et al. Southwest. Entomol. 36:125, 2011. (3) S. Jagoueix et al. Mol. Cell. Probes 10:43, 1996. (4) G. A. Secor. Plant Dis. 93:574, 2009.