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First Report of Bacterial Leaf Spot of Swiss Chard Caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. aptata in California

    Authors and Affiliations
    • S. T. Koike
    • D. M. Henderson , University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas 93901
    • C. T. Bull
    • P. H. Goldman
    • R. T. Lewellen , USDA-ARS, Salinas 93905

      From 1999 through 2003, a previously unreported disease was found on commercial Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla) in the Salinas Valley, (Monterey County) California. Each year the disease occurred sporadically throughout the long growing season from April through September. Initial symptoms were water-soaked leaf spots that measured 2 to 3 mm in diameter. As disease developed, spots became circular to ellipsoid, 3 to 8 mm in diameter, and tan with distinct brown-to-black borders. Spots were visible from the adaxial and abaxial sides. Cream-colored bacterial colonies were consistently isolated from spots. Strains were fluorescent on King's medium B, levan positive, oxidase negative, and arginine dihydrolase negative. Strains did not rot potato slices but induced a hypersensitive reaction on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Turk). The isolates, therefore, belong in LOPAT group 1 (1). Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) analysis (MIS-TSBA version 4.10, MIDI Inc., Newark, DE) gave variable results that included Pseudomonas syringae, P. cichorii, and P. viridiflava with similarity indices ranging from 0.91 to 0.95. BOX-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis gave identical banding patterns for the chard isolates and for known P. syringae pv. aptata strains, including the pathotype strain CFBP1617 (2). The bacteria were identified as P. syringae. Pathogenicity of 11 strains was tested by growing inoculum in nutrient broth shake cultures for 48 h, diluting to 10 × 6 CFU/ml, and spraying onto 5-week-old plants of Swiss chard cvs. Red, White, Silverado, and CXS2547. Untreated control plants were sprayed with sterile nutrient broth. After 7 to 10 days in a greenhouse (24 to 26°C), leaf spots similar to those observed in the field developed on all inoculated plants. Strains were reisolated from the spots and identified as P. syringae. Control plants remained symptomless. To investigate the host range of this pathogen, the same procedures were used to inoculate three strains onto other Chenopodiaceae plants: five cultivars of sugar beet (B. vulgaris), and one cultivar each of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and Swiss chard. In addition, five chard strains and strain CFBP1617 were inoculated onto two cultivars of sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and one cultivar each of cantaloupe (Cucumis melo), sugar beet, spinach, and Swiss chard. All Swiss chard, cantaloupe, sunflower, and sugar beet plants developed leaf spots after 7 days. The pathogen was reisolated from spots and confirmed to be the same bacterium using BOX-PCR analysis. Spinach and untreated controls failed to show symptoms. All inoculation experiments were done at least twice and the results were the same. The phenotypic data, fatty acid and genetic analyses, and pathogenicity tests indicated that these strains are P. syringae pv. aptata. To our knowledge this is the first report of bacterial leaf spot of commercially grown Swiss chard in California caused by P. syringae pv. aptata. The disease was particularly damaging when it developed in Swiss chard fields planted for “baby leaf” fresh market products. Such crops are placed on 2-m wide beds, planted with high seed densities, and are sprinkler irrigated. This disease has been reported from Asia, Australia, Europe, and other U.S. states.

      References: (1) R. A. Lelliott et al. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 29:470, 1966. (2) J. L. W. Rademaker et al. Mol. Microbiol. Ecol. Man. 3.4.3:1–27, 1998.