Bacterial canker is a common bacterial disease of stone fruit trees. The causal agents responsible for the disease include several pathovars in Pseudomonas syringae sensu lato and newly described Pseudomonas species. Pseudomonad strains were isolated from symptomatic stone fruit trees, namely apricot, peach, and plum trees cultivated in spatially separated orchards in the Western Cape. A polyphasic approach was used to identify and characterize these strains. Using a multilocus sequence typing approach of four housekeeping loci, namely cts, gapA, gyrB, and rpoD, the pseudomonad strains were delineated into two phylogenetic groups within P. syringae sensu lato: P. syringae sensu stricto and Pseudomonas viridiflava. These results were further supported by LOPAT diagnostic assays and analysis of clades in the rep-PCR dendrogram. The pseudomonad strains were pathogenic on both apricot and plum seedlings, indicative of a lack of host specificity between Pseudomonas strains infecting Prunus spp. This is a first report of P. viridiflava isolated from plum trees showing symptoms of bacterial canker. P. viridiflava is considered to be an opportunistic pathogen that causes foliar diseases of vegetable crops, fruit trees, and aromatic herbs, and thus the isolation of pathogenic P. viridiflava from twigs of plum trees showing symptoms of bacterial canker suggests that this bacterial species is a potentially emerging stem canker pathogen of stone fruit trees in South Africa.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science