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Plant Dis. 2018 Mar;102(3):511-518. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-17-1002-RE. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Molecular Epidemiology of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae Causing Bacterial Leaf Spot of Watermelon and Squash in Florida.

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North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Quincy.
Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Immokalee.
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville.


From 2013 to 2014, bacterial leaf spot epidemics incited by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae affected an estimated 3,000 ha of watermelon and squash in Florida, and caused foliar blighting and transplant losses in severely affected fields. To investigate the diversity of the causal agent, we isolated 28 P. syringae strains from diseased plants grown in 10 Florida and Georgia counties over the course of 2 years. Strains were confirmed as P. syringae through sequence analysis of the 16S ribosomal RNA, phenotypic, and biochemical profiling; however, 20 displayed an atypical phenotype by exhibiting nonfluorescent activity on King's medium B agar and being negative for ice-nucleating activity. Multilocus sequence analysis and BOX polymerase chain reaction revealed the presence of two haplotypes among the collected strains that grouped into two distinct clades within P. syringae phylogroup 2. Pathogenicity testing showed that watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash seedlings were susceptible to a majority of these strains. Although both haplotypes were equally virulent on cantaloupe, they differed in virulence on watermelon and squash. The distribution of one haplotype in 9 of 10 Florida and Georgia counties sampled indicated that these epidemics were associated with the recent introduction of a novel clonal P. syringae lineage throughout major watermelon production areas in Florida.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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