Saposhnikovia divaricata (Turcz) Schischk, a perennial plant in the Umbelliferae, is widely cultivated in north China. As a traditional Chinese medicine, it can be used to cure colds and rheumatism (1). During disease surveys on medicinal plants in August 2010, a bacterial leaf blight was discovered with a general incidence of 40 to 60% on S. divaricata farms in Longxi, Weiyuan County in Gansu China. In young plants, tiny yellow-white points were visible on the backs of the leaves. They then expanded to 2- to 3-mm oil-soaked lesions; leaves appeared crimped and deformed. Later the leaves shriveled; black-brown oil-soaked lesions appeared on the vein and the tissue around it; and black streaks appeared on the stems. Ten diseased leaf and stem tissues were cut into 4- to 5-mm squares, surface-sterilized in 1% sodium hypochlorite for 1 min, rinsed three times, and macerated for 5 min in sterilized distilled water. They were then streaked onto nutrient agar (NA) medium and incubated at 28°C for 3 days. Colonies on NA were round, smooth, translucent, and yellowish green. They were Gram negative and induced a hypersensitive response on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaves. The strain was positive for gelatin, catalase, oxidase, and utilization of glucose and saccharose. Pathogenicity tests were performed by spraying bacterial suspension containing 107 CFU/ml on six leaves of three healthy potted S. divaricata plants and injecting it into another six leaves on three plants. Plants inoculated with sterile distilled water alone served as controls. They were placed in a growth chamber at 25°C and bagged for 24 h to maintain >95% humidity. Thirty-six hours after inoculation, the inoculated leaves appeared water-soaked; 10 days later, the symptoms were apparent on leaves and the plant wilted. The negative control appeared normal. Finally, Koch's postulates were verified by re-isolating P. viridiflava from the leaves with typical blight. The genomic DNA of the isolate was extracted, and the partial 16S rDNA sequence was amplified with a universal bacterial primer set (27f and 1492r) (2). The sequence was deposited in GenBank as KM030291. BLAST search yielded 99% identity with P. viridiflava strains, including the strains KNOX209 (AY604847), RMX3.1b (AY574911), ME3.1b (AY574909), and UASWS0038 (AY919300). Based on the symptoms, colony morphology, biochemical tests, and 16S rDNA sequence identity, the pathogen was identified as P. viridiflava. To our knowledge, this is the first report of leaf blight of S. divaricata by P. viridiflava in Gansu province of China. In Jilin province, the same disease was reported in 2008 (3). The impact of P. viridiflava on S. divaricata production is not yet known.
References: (1) Committee of China Pharmacopoeia. Pharmacop. People's Repub. 1:102, 2005. (2) C. Morenol et al. Microbiology 148:1233, 2002. (3) W. Xue. Dissertation. Jilin Agric. Univ. 1, 2008.