Dynamics of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Colonization of New Growth of Citrus

Hilf, Luo (2018). Phytopathology® 108 (10)
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ is a phloem-colonizing intracellular bacterial pathogen of citrus associated with the disease huanglongbing. A study of patterns of colonization and bacterial population growth in new growth of different citrus types was conducted by pruning infected citron, sweet orange, sour orange, mandarin, citrange, and Citrus macrophylla trees to force the growth of axillary and adventitious shoots. The first three leaves on newly emerged shoots were collected at 30, 60, and 90 days to assess colonization and population growth of ‘Ca. L. asiaticus’ using real time PCR (qPCR). Single trials were conducted with mandarin and citron, two trials each for citrange, sour orange and sweet orange, and four trials for C. macrophylla. In citron the proportion of colonized leaves increased significantly over time, with 67, 85, and 96% of leaves colonized at 30, 60, and 90 days, respectively. For the other citrus types, the exact proportion of colonized leaves differed, but colonization exceeded 60% in mandarin, sour orange, and citrange, and exceeded 80% at 30 days in two trials with sweet orange and three trials with C. macrophylla, but there was no significant increase in the proportion of colonized leaves at 60 and 90 days. Bacteria were readily detected by 30 days in new leaves of all citrus types. Differences in the growth of the bacterial population between citrus types and at different times of the year were noted, but common trends were apparent. In general, bacterial titers peaked at 60 days, except in leaves of C. macrophylla where bacterial titers peaked at 30 days. The early and consistently high proportion of leaf colonization observed for new growth of sweet orange during two trials and for C. macrophylla during three trials indicates a near synchronous colonization of new leaves by 30 days.
Publication date