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Ralstonia solanacearum Species Complex: A Quick Diagnostic Guide

R. O. GarcĂ­a, J. P. Kerns, and L. Thiessen

January 2019

Diagnostic Guide

Ralstonia solanacearum (Smith 1896) Yabuuchi et al. 1996 is ranked second among the top 10 most economically important plant pathogenic bacteria. The soil-borne bacterium affects over 200 plant species worldwide, including economically and nutritionally important crops, such as potato (Solanum tuberosum), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and bananas (Musa spp.). R. solanacearum is a species complex, meaning that the species is composed of strains with differential characteristics, including different metabolic requirements, centers of origin, host range, and ideal environmental conditions for infection. Its nature and the fact that it is a species complex can make R. solanacearum a difficult bacterium to work with, especially when lacking experience. Inappropriate isolation or storage of the pathogen can lead to inaccurate diagnostics or misleading conclusions. Thus, the objectives of this diagnostic guide are to provide adequate methods for isolation, storage, and identification and to discuss other relevant aspects related to this important plant pathogenic bacterium.


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