Polyphasic analysis of Acidovorax citrulli strains from northeastern Brazil


Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.)




ABSTRACT Bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of cucurbit plants is caused by Acidovorax citrulli and represents a serious concern to melon (Cucumis melo L.) growers worldwide, including those in Brazil. Thirty-four A. citrulli strains from different melon production areas of northeastern Brazil were characterized for their virulence on melon fruits and their substrate utilization and molecular profiles. Based on the analysis of BFB severity on melon fruits, the A. citrulli strains were divided into three groups, classified as mildly, moderately or highly virulent. Although host-related groups were not observed, the watermelon and ‘melão-pepino’ strains exhibited only low or moderate virulence on melon fruit. Substrate utilization profiles revealed that 94 % of the 95 tested compounds were used by A. citrulli strains as a carbon source. Overall, based on substrate utilization, low variability was observed with no relationship to host of origin. The formation of one group of A. citrulli strains based on Repetitive Sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) analysis confirmed the low variability observed in the substrate utilization analyses. Bayesian inference based on the analysis of 23S rDNA partial sequence data resulted in one well-supported clade and clustered the strains with the A. citrulli-type species with high posterior probability support. Based on the markers used, the Brazilian A. citrulli strains belong to a single group, which corresponds to the previously described Group I for this bacterium in the United States.

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