Protection of crops from bacterial diseases presents a continuing challenge, mandating the development of novel agents and approaches. Photocatalysis is a process where chemically reactive oxygen species are catalytically generated by certain minerals in the presence of light. These reactive oxygen species have the capacity to destroy organic molecular structures critical to pathogen viability. In this study, the antibacterial potential of photocatalytic nanoscale titanium dioxide (TiO(2)), nanoscale TiO(2) doped (incorporation of other materials into the structure of TiO(2)) with silver (TiO(2)/Ag), and nanoscale TiO(2) doped with zinc (TiO(2)/Zn; AgriTitan) was evaluated against Xanthomonas perforans, the causal agent for bacterial spot disease of tomato. In vitro experiments on photocatalytic activity and dose dependency were conducted on glass cover slips coated with the nanoscale formulations by adding a known population of X. perforans strain Xp-F7 and illuminating the cover slips under a visible light source. TiO(2)/Ag and TiO(2)/Zn had high photocatalytic activity against X. perforans within 10 min of exposure to 3 × 10(4) lux. Greenhouse studies on naturally and artificially infected transplants treated with TiO(2)/Zn at ?500 to 800 ppm significantly reduced bacterial spot severity compared with untreated and copper control. Protection was similar to the grower standard, copper + mancozeb. The use of TiO(2)/Zn at ?500 to 800 ppm significantly reduced disease incidence in three of the four trials compared with untreated and copper control, and was comparable to or better than the grower standard. The treatments did not cause any adverse effects on tomato yield in any of the field trials.
A two-phase experiment was conducted twice to investigate the effects of soil management on movement of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium in tomato plants. In the first phase, individual leaflets of 84 tomato plants grown in conventional or organic soils were dip inoculated two to four times before fruiting with either of two Salmonella Typhimurium strains (10(9) CFU/ml; 0.025% [vol/vol] Silwet L-77). Inoculated and adjacent leaflets were tested for Salmonella spp. densities for 30 days after each inoculation. Endophytic bacterial communities were characterized by polymerase chain reaction denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis before and after inoculation. Fruit and seed were examined for Salmonella spp. incidence. In phase 2, extracted seed were planted in conventional soil, and contamination of leaves and fruit of the second generation was checked. More Salmonella spp. survived in inoculated leaves on plants grown in conventional than in organic soil. The soil management effect on Salmonella spp. survival was confirmed for tomato plants grown in two additional pairs of soils. Endophytic bacterial diversities of tomato plants grown in conventional soils were significantly lower than those in organic soils. All contaminated fruit (1%) were from tomato plants grown in conventional soil. Approximately 5% of the seed from infested fruit were internally contaminated. No Salmonella sp. was detected in plants grown from contaminated seed.
Verticillium wilt of lettuce caused by Verticillium dahliae can cause severe economic damage to lettuce producers. Complete resistance to race 1 isolates is available in Lactuca sativa cultivar (cv.) La Brillante and understanding the genetic basis of this resistance will aid development of new resistant cultivars. F(1) and F(2) families from crosses between La Brillante and three iceberg cultivars as well as a recombinant inbred line population derived from L. sativa cv. Salinas 88 × La Brillante were evaluated for disease incidence and disease severity in replicated greenhouse and field experiments. One hundred and six molecular markers were used to generate a genetic map from Salinas 88 × La Brillante and for detection of quantitative trait loci. Segregation was consistent with a single dominant gene of major effect which we are naming Verticillium resistance 1 (Vr1). The gene described large portions of the phenotypic variance (R(2) = 0.49-0.68) and was mapped to linkage group 9 coincident with an expressed sequence tag marker (QGD8I16.yg.ab1) that has sequence similarity with the Ve gene that confers resistance to V. dahliae race 1 in tomato. The simple inheritance of resistance indicates that breeding procedures designed for single genes will be applicable for developing resistant cultivars. QGD8I16.yg.ab1 is a good candidate for functional analysis and development of markers suitable for marker-assisted selection.
Current knowledge of plant virus diversity is biased towards agents of visible and economically important diseases. Less is known about viruses that have not caused major diseases in crops, or viruses from native vegetation, which are a reservoir of biodiversity that can contribute to viral emergence. Discovery of these plant viruses is hindered by the traditional approach of sampling individual symptomatic plants. Since many damaging plant viruses are transmitted by insect vectors, we have developed "vector-enabled metagenomics" (VEM) to investigate the diversity of plant viruses. VEM involves sampling of insect vectors (in this case, whiteflies) from plants, followed by purification of viral particles and metagenomic sequencing. The VEM approach exploits the natural ability of highly mobile adult whiteflies to integrate viruses from many plants over time and space, and leverages the capability of metagenomics for discovering novel viruses. This study utilized VEM to describe the DNA viral community from whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) collected from two important agricultural regions in Florida, USA. VEM successfully characterized the active and abundant viruses that produce disease symptoms in crops, as well as the less abundant viruses infecting adjacent native vegetation. PCR assays designed from the metagenomic sequences enabled the complete sequencing of four novel begomovirus genome components, as well as the first discovery of plant virus satellites in North America. One of the novel begomoviruses was subsequently identified in symptomatic Chenopodium ambrosiodes from the same field site, validating VEM as an effective method for proactive monitoring of plant viruses without a priori knowledge of the pathogens. This study demonstrates the power of VEM for describing the circulating viral community in a given region, which will enhance our understanding of plant viral diversity, and facilitate emerging plant virus surveillance and management of viral diseases.
The genus Verticillium encompasses phytopathogenic species that cause vascular wilts of plants. In this review, we focus on Verticillium dahliae, placing emphasis on the controversy surrounding the elevation of a long-spored variant as a new species, recent advances in the analysis of compatible and incompatible interactions, highlighted by the use of strains expressing fluorescent proteins, and the genetic diversity among Verticillium spp. A synthesis of the approaches to explore genetic diversity, gene flow, and the potential for cryptic recombination is provided. Control of Verticillium wilt has relied on a panoply of chemical and nonchemical strategies, but is beset with environmental or site-specific efficacy problems. Host resistance remains the most logical choice, but is unavailable in most crops. The genetic basis of resistance to Verticillium wilt is unknown in most crops, as are the subcellular signaling mechanisms associated with Ve-mediated, race-specific resistance. Increased understanding in each of these areas promises to facilitate management of Verticillium wilts across a broad range of crops.
Soil-based root applications and attenuated bacterial strains were evaluated as means to enhance bacteriophage persistence on plants for bacterial disease control. In addition, the systemic nature of phage applied to tomato roots was also evaluated. Several experiments were conducted applying either single phages or phage mixtures specific for Ralstonia solanacearum, Xanthomonas perforans or X. euvesicatoria to soil surrounding tomato plants and measuring the persistence and translocation of the phages over time. In general, all phages persisted in the roots of treated plants and were detected in stems and leaves; although phage level varied and persistence in stems and leaves was at a much lower level compared with persistence in roots. Bacterial wilt control was typically best if the phage or phage mixtures were applied to the soil surrounding tomatoes at the time of inoculation, less effective if applied 3 days before inoculation, and ineffective if applied 3 days after inoculation. The use of an attenuated X. perforans strain was also evaluated to improve the persistence of phage populations on tomato leaf surfaces. In greenhouse and field experiments, foliar applications of an attenuated mutant X. perforans 91-118:?OPGH strain prior to phage applications significantly improved phage persistence on tomato foliage compared with untreated tomato foliage. Both the soil-based bacteriophage delivery and the use of attenuated bacterial strains improved bacteriophage persistence on respective root and foliar tissues, with evidence of translocation with soil-based bacteriophage applications. Both strategies could lead to improved control of bacterial pathogens on plants.
The use of bacteriophages as an effective phage therapy strategy faces significant challenges for controlling plant diseases in the phyllosphere. A number of factors must be taken into account when considering phage therapy for bacterial plant pathogens. Given that effective mitigation requires high populations of phage be present in close proximity to the pathogen at critical times in the disease cycle, the single biggest impediment that affects the efficacy of bacteriophages is their inability to persist on plant surfaces over time due to environmental factors. Inactivation by UV light is the biggest factor reducing bacteriophage persistence on plant surfaces. Therefore, designing strategies that minimize this effect are critical. For instance, application timing can be altered: instead of morning or afternoon application, phages can be applied late in the day to minimize the adverse effects of UV and extend the time high populations of phage persist on leaf surfaces. Protective formulations have been identified which prolong phage viability on the leaf surface; however, UV inactivation continues to be the major limiting factor in developing more effective bacteriophage treatments for bacterial plant pathogens. Other strategies, which have been developed to potentially increase persistence of phages on leaf surfaces, rely on establishing non-pathogenic or attenuated bacterial strains in the phyllosphere that are sensitive to the phage(s) specific to the target bacterium. We have also learned that selecting the correct phages for disease control is critical. This requires careful monitoring of bacterial strains in the field to minimize development of bacterial strains with resistance to the deployed bacteriophages. We also have data that indicate that selecting the phages based on in vivo assays may also be important when developing use for field application. Although bacteriophages have potential in biological control for plant disease control, there are major obstacles, which must be considered.
We investigated whether lines of transgenic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) expressing the Bs2 resistance gene from pepper, a close relative of tomato, demonstrate improved resistance to bacterial spot disease caused by Xanthomonas species in replicated multi-year field trials under commercial type growing conditions. We report that the presence of the Bs2 gene in the highly susceptible VF 36 background reduced disease to extremely low levels, and VF 36-Bs2 plants displayed the lowest disease severity amongst all tomato varieties tested, including commercial and breeding lines with host resistance. Yields of marketable fruit from transgenic lines were typically 2.5 times that of the non-transformed parent line, but varied between 1.5 and 11.5 fold depending on weather conditions and disease pressure. Trials were conducted without application of any copper-based bactericides, presently in wide use despite negative impacts on the environment. This is the first demonstration of effective field resistance in a transgenic genotype based on a plant R gene and provides an opportunity for control of a devastating pathogen while eliminating ineffective copper pesticides.
Outbreaks of Salmonella enterica have increasingly been associated with tomatoes and traced back to production areas, but the spread of Salmonella from a point source onto plants has not been described. Splash dispersal by rain could be one means of dissemination. Green fluorescent protein-labeled, kanamycin-resistant Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium dispensed on the surface of plastic mulch, organic mulch, or soil at 10? CFU/cm² was used as the point source in the center of a rain simulator. Tomato plants in soil with and without plastic or organic mulch were placed around the point source, and rain intensities of 60 and 110 mm/h were applied for 5, 10, 20, and 30 min. Dispersal of Salmonella followed a negative exponential model with a half distance of 3 cm at 110 mm/h. Dispersed Salmonella survived for 3 days on tomato leaflets, with a total decline of 5 log and an initial decimal reduction time of 10 h. Recovery of dispersed Salmonella from plants at the maximum observed distance ranged from 3 CFU/g of leaflet after a rain episode of 110 mm/h for 10 min on soil to 117 CFU/g of leaflet on plastic mulch. Dispersal of Salmonella on plants with and without mulch was significantly enhanced by increasing rain duration from 0 to 10 min, but dispersal was reduced when rainfall duration increased from 10 to 30 min. Salmonella may be dispersed by rain to contaminate tomato plants in the field, especially during rain events of 10 min and when plastic mulch is used.
Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goid. is an important phytopathogenic fungus, infecting a large number of plant species and surviving for up to 15 years in the soil as a saprophyte. Although considerable research related to the biology and ecology of Macrophomina has been conducted, it continues to cause huge economic losses in many crops. Research is needed to improve the identification and characterization of genetic variability within their epidemiological and pathological niches. Better understanding of the variability within the pathogen population for traits that influence fitness and soil survival will certainly lead to improved management strategies for Macrophomina. In this context, the present review discusses various biological aspects and distribution of M. phaseolina throughout the world and their importance to different plant species. Accurate identification of the fungus has been aided with the use of nucleic acid-based molecular techniques. The development of PCR-based methods for identification and detection of M. phaseolina are highly sensitive and specific. Early diagnosis and accurate detection of pathogens is an essential step in plant disease management as well as quarantine. The progress in the development of various molecular tools used for the detection, identification and characterization of Macrophomina isolates were also discussed.
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