Huanglongbing (HLB) or greening is a devastating phloem-intruding bacterial disease that generates various symptoms in leaves and fruits, threatening the global citrus industry. Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, Candidatus Liberibacter africanus, and Candidatus Liberibacter americanus are the causative agents of HLB in citrus-producing regions around many countries, and these proteobacteria are being vectorized by Diaphorina citri and Triozaerytreae. The lack of HLB-resistant citrus cultivars, the rapid spread of disease, and the fastidious nature of HLB-proteobacteria have made it difficult to mitigate HLB in the citrus field. There are numerous reports on the control of HLB disease using thermotherapy, chemotherapy, plant defense activators, brassinosteroids, and nanoemulsions. However, there is no evidence of such applicability of the methods mentioned above to complete the elimination or suppression of the pathogen to control HLB disease. We aim to provide an overall picture of HLB disease, its distribution, causal organism, pathogenic mechanism, and current and future strategies for combat against citrus Huanglongbing disease. This review may prompt the researchers toward an integrated and environmentally sustainable methodology for the mitigation/elimination of HLB pathogens.
The hypervariable genomic regions derived from 35 published
Las genomes were used to decipher the genetic diversity of
Las strains and identify 10 new strains with high variations in prophage regions. Characterizing these variations in the
Las bacteria might provide insight into their evolution and adaptation to host plants and insects in China.
Citrus huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating disease for the citrus industry. The previous studies demonstrated that oxytetracycline and penicillin are effective antibiotics against Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). However, since CLas is uncultured, the mechanisms of action of antibiotics against CLas are still unclear. It was recently reported that the endophytic microbial communities are associated with the progression of citrus HLB after oxytetracycline and penicillin treatment. Therefore, we hypothesize that penicillin has greater antibacterial activity against CLas than oxytetracycline, which may be associated with the alteration of the structure and function of endophytic microbial communities in HLB-affected citrus in response to these antibiotics. To test this hypothesis, the microbiome of HLB-affected citrus leaves treated with these two antibiotics was analyzed using a metagenomic method. Our results indicate that the microbial structure and function in HLB-affected citrus were altered by these two antibiotics. The relative abundance of beneficial bacterial species, including Streptomyces avermitilis and Bradyrhizobium, was higher in penicillin-treated plants compared to those treated with oxytetracycline, and the relative abundance of the bacterial species (such as Propionibacterium acnes and Synechocystis sp PCC 6803) associated with CLas survival was lower for penicillin-treated plants compared to oxytetracycline-treated plants. These results indicate that penicillin has greater antibacterial activity against CLas. Based on the metagenomic analysis, this study elucidated the mechanism for the observed increase in antibacterial activity of penicillin against CLas. The data presented here are not only invaluable for developing eco-friendly and effective biocontrol strategies to combat citrus HLB, but also provide a method for revealing mechanism of antimicrobial against uncultured bacteria in host.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a worldwide devastating disease of citrus. There are no effective control measures for this newly emerging but century-old disease. Previously, we reported a combination of Penicillin G and Streptomycin was effective in eliminating or suppressing the associated bacterium, ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las).
Here we report the bacterial composition and community structure in HLB-affected citrus plants during a growing season and while being treated with antibiotic combinations PS (Penicillin G and Streptomycin) and KO (Kasugamycin and Oxytetracycline) using the Phylochip™ G3 array. Both antibiotic treatments resulted in significantly lower Las bacterial titers (Pr<0.05) and hybridization scores. Of the 50,000+ available operational taxonomic units (OTUs) on PhyloChip™ G3, 7,028 known OTUs were present in citrus leaf midribs. These OTUs were from 58 phyla, of which five contained 100 or more OTUs, Proteobacteria (44.1%), Firmicutes (23.5%), Actinobacteria (12.4%), Bacteroidetes (6.6%) and Cyanobacteria (3.2%). In the antibiotic treated samples, the number of OTUs decreased to a total of 5,599. The over-all bacterial diversity decreased with the antibiotic treatments, as did the abundance of 11 OTUs within Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Planctomycetes. Within the Proteobacteria, ten OTUs representing the class
-proteobacteria increased in abundance after four months of treatment, when the Las bacterium was at its lowest level in the HLB-affected citrus field plants.
Our data revealed that Proteobacteria was constantly the dominant bacterial phylum recovered from citrus leaf midribs, with the α-proteobacterial and the γ-proteobacterial classes vying for prevalence. In addition, the level of bacterial diversity found in the leaf midribs of field citrus was greater than previously described. Bacterial cells in close proximity may be able to modify their microenvironment, making the composition of the microbial community an important factor in the ability of Las to cause HLB progression. A low Las level was seen as an annual fluctuation, part of the bacterial population dynamics, and as a response to the antibiotic treatments.
Citrus huanglongbing is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus worldwide. The disease is associated with three different species of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’, of which ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ is the most widely distributed. An optimized system using ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected periwinkle cuttings was developed to screen chemical compounds effective for controlling the bacterial population while simultaneously assessing their phytotoxicity. The optimal regeneration conditions were determined to be the use of vermiculite as a growth medium for the cuttings, and a fertilization routine using half-strength Murashige and Tucker medium supplemented with both naphthalene acetic acid (4 μg/ml) and indole-3-butyric acid (4 μg/ml). This system allowed a plant regeneration rate of 60.6% for ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected cuttings in contrast to the <1% regeneration rate with water alone. Two chemical agents, penicillin G sodium and 2,2-dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA), were found to be effective at eliminating or suppressing the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ bacterium in this periwinkle regeneration system. When treated with penicillin G sodium at 50 μg/ml, all plants regenerated from ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-infected cuttings were ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ negative as determined by both nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, DBNPA was also able to significantly reduce the percentage of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’-positive plants and the titer of the ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ bacterium at 200 μl/liter.