First Report of “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” on Tobacco in Honduras

Aguilar et al. (2013). Plant Disease 97 (10)
“Liberibacter solanacearum”
Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
In April of 2012, tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plants with symptoms resembling those associated with viral infection were observed in commercial fields in the Department of El-Paraíso, Honduras. Symptoms on affected plants included apical leaf curling and stunting, overall chlorosis and plant stunting, young plant deformation with cabbage-like leaves, wilting, and internal vascular necrosis of stems and leaf petioles. All cultivars grown were affected, with disease incidence ranging from 5 to 80% of symptomatic plants per field. The fields were also heavily infested with the psyllid Bactericera cockerelli. This psyllid is a serious pest of solanaceous crops in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and New Zealand and has been shown to transmit the bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” to potato, tomato, and other solanaceous species (2,3). Tobacco (cv. Habano criollo) plant samples were collected from one field in the municipality of Trojes. Initial testing of the plant samples for viruses, including Tobacco mosaic virus, Impatiens necrotic spot virus, Cucumber mosaic virus, and Potato virus Y, using Immunostrips (Agdia, Elkhart, IN) were negative. Total DNA was then extracted from leaf tissues of a total of 13 plants, including eight symptomatic plants and five asymptomatic plants with the cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) buffer extraction method (2,4). The DNA samples were tested by PCR using specific PCR primer pairs OA2/OI2c and OMB 1482f/2086r, to amplify a portion of 16S rDNA and the outer membrane protein (OMB) gene of “Ca. L. solanacearum,” respectively (2). All eight (100%) symptomatic plant samples were positive for “Ca. L. solanacearum” with both sets of primer pairs. “Ca. L. solanacearum” was not detected in the asymptomatic plants. The 16S rDNA and OMB gene amplicons of two plant samples each were cloned and four clones of each of the four amplicons were sequenced. BLASTn analysis of the consensus sequences confirmed “Ca. L. solanaeacrum” in the tobacco samples. The 16S rDNA consensus sequences (1,168 bp) of all amplicons were identical and showed 100% identity with several 16S rDNA sequences of “Ca. L. solanacearum” in GenBank (e.g., Accession Nos. HM245242, JF811596, and JX559779). The consensus sequence of the OMB amplicon (605 bp) showed 97 to 100% homology with a number of “Ca. L. solanacearum” OMB sequences in GenBank, including Accession Nos. CP002371, FJ914617, JN848754 and JN848752. The tobacco-associated consensus 16S rDNA and OMB sequences from this study were deposited in GenBank as Accession Nos. KC768320 and KC768328, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report of “Ca. L. solanacearum” associated with tobacco in Honduras, where this cash crop is economically important. This bacterium has also caused millions of dollars in losses to potato, tomato, and several other solanaceous crops in North and Central America and New Zealand, particularly in regions where B. cockerelli is present (3). Furthermore, “Ca. L. solanacearum” has caused significant economic damage to carrot crops in Europe, where it is transmitted by the psyllids Trioza apicalis in northern Europe (4) and B. trigonica in the Mediterranean region (1). References: (1) A. Alfaro-Fernandez et al. Plant Dis. 96:581, 2012. (2) J. M. Crosslin. Southwest. Entomol. 36:125, 2011. (3) J. E. Munyaneza. Am. J. Pot. Res. 89:329, 2012. (4) J. E. Munyaneza et al. J. Econ. Entomol. 103:1060, 2010.
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