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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 May;70(5):2779-85.

Acquisition of an Agrobacterium Ri plasmid and pathogenicity by other alpha-Proteobacteria in cucumber and tomato crops affected by root mat.

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Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ.


Root mat of cucumbers and tomatoes has previously been shown to be caused by Agrobacterium radiobacter strains harboring a root-inducing Ri plasmid (pRi). Nine other pRi-harboring alpha-Proteobacteria have subsequently been isolated from root mat-infected crops. Fatty acid profiling and partial 16S rRNA sequence analysis identified three of these strains as being in the genus Ochrobactrum, five as being in the genus Rhizobium, and one as being in the genus Sinorhizobium: An in vitro pathogenicity test involving inoculation of cucumber cotyledons was developed. All pRi-harboring alpha-Proteobacteria induced typical root mat symptoms from the cotyledons. Average transformation rates for rhizogenic Ochrobactrum (46%) and Rhizobium (44%) strains were lower than those observed for rhizogenic A. radiobacter strains (64%). However, individual strains from these three genera all had transformation rates comparable to those observed from cotyledons inoculated with a rhizogenic Sinorhizobium strain (75%).

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