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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2017 Sep;67(9):3645-3654. doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.002189. Epub 2017 Aug 25.

Pathogenic, phenotypic and molecular characterisation of Xanthomonas nasturtii sp. nov. and Xanthomonas floridensis sp. nov., new species of Xanthomonas associated with watercress production in Florida.

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1​School of Life Sciences, The University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.
2​Vitacress Ltd, Lower Link Farm, St. Mary Bourne, Andover, Hampshire SP11 6DB, UK.
3​Biosciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK.


We describe two new species of the genus Xanthomonas, represented by yellow mucoid bacterial strains isolated from diseased leaves of watercress (Nasturtium officinale) produced in Florida, USA. One strain was pathogenic on watercress, but not in other species including a range of brassicas; other strains were not pathogenic in any of the tested plants. Data from Biolog carbon source utilization tests and nucleotide sequence data from 16S and gyrB loci suggested that both pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains were related to, yet distinct from, previously described Xanthomonas species. Multilocus sequence analysis and whole genome-wide comparisons of the average nucleotide identity (ANI) of genomes of two strains from watercress showed that these are distinct and share less than 95 % ANI with all other known species; the non-pathogenic strain WHRI 8848 is close to Xanthomonascassavae (ANI of 93.72 %) whilst the pathogenic strain WHRI 8853 is close to a large clade of species that includes Xanthomonasvesicatoria (ANI ≤90.25 %). Based on these results, we propose that both strains represent new Xanthomonas species named Xanthomonas floridensis sp. nov. (type strain WHRI 8848=ATCC TSD-60=ICMP 21312=LMG 29665=NCPPB 4601) and Xanthomonas nasturtii sp. nov. (type strain WHRI 8853=ATCC TSD-61=ICMP 21313=LMG 29666=NCPPB 4600), respectively. The presence of non-pathogenic Xanthomonas strains in watercress and their interaction with pathogenic strains needs to be further investigated. Although the importance of the new pathogenic species is yet to be determined, the bacterial disease that it causes constitutes a threat to watercress production and its distribution should be monitored.

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