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Bacterial Blight, a New Disease of Broccoli Caused by Pseudomonas syringae in California

S. T. Koike, University of California Cooperative Extension, Salinas 93901; and N. A. Cintas and C. T. Bull, U.S. Agricultural Research Station, Salinas 93905

Posted 1 June 2000. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2000-0601-01-HN.

Reproduced, with permission, from Plant Disease, March 2000.

In 1998 and 1999, a new disease was detected in commercial broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) grown in the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, CA. Initial symptoms consisted of large, water-soaked, dark green, angular leaf sections that were bordered by major leaf veins. Diseased areas were as large as 10 3 cm. As the disease developed, affected areas turned tan and papery, and leaf margins sometimes became tattered. The numerous small (<1 cm diameter), round to angular spots that also were present retained their size and did not develop into larger lesions. A blue-green fluorescing pseudomonad was consistently isolated from both types of lesions on King's medium B. Strains were levan positive, oxidase negative, and arginine dihydrolase negative. Strains did not rot potato slices but induced a hypersensitive reaction in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. 'Turk'). Fatty acid methyl ester analysis (MIS-TSBA version 4.10, MIDI, Inc., Newark, DE) indicated that the strains were highly similar (similarity >=0.843) to Pseudomonas syringae. Biolog GN (version 3.50, Biolog, Inc., Hayward, CA) profiles also identified the strains as P. syringae. Therefore, the bacterium associated with the disease was identified as P. syringae. Pathogenicity of 13 strains was demonstrated by greenhouse tests. The strains were grown as nutrient broth shake cultures for 48 h at 24C, diluted to 10(^6) CFU/ml, and misted onto broccoli (cvs. Patriot and Titleist) and broccoli raab (B. rapa subsp. rapa cv. Spring). Control plants were misted with sterile nutrient broth. After 4 to 5 days in a greenhouse (24 to 26C), large angular leaf lesions developed on all inoculated broccoli and broccoli raab plants. Strains were reisolated from symptomatic tissue and identified as P. syringae. Control plants remained symptomless. The results of two sets of pathogenicity tests were the same. Unlike most P. syringae strains, those isolated from broccoli were sensitive to a bacteriophage recovered from a P. syringae pathovar that infects broccoli raab. These results suggest that the broccoli pathogen may be related to the bacterial blight pathogen of broccoli raab (1). This is the first report of this pathogen causing a disease on commercially grown broccoli.


1.  S. T. Koike et al. Plant Dis. 82:727, 1998.