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A framework to gauge the epidemic potential of plant pathogens in environmental reservoirs: the example of kiwifruit canker

Abstract : New economically important diseases on crops and forest trees emerge recurrently. An understanding of where new pathogenic lines come from and how they evolve is fundamental for the deployment of accurate surveillance methods. We used kiwifruit bacterial canker as a model to assess the importance of potential reservoirs of new pathogenic lineages. The current kiwifruit canker epidemic is at least the fourth outbreak of the disease on kiwifruit caused by Pseudomonas syringae in the mere 50 years in which this crop has been cultivated worldwide, with each outbreak being caused by different genetic lines of the bacterium. Here, we ask whether strains in natural (non-agricultural) environments could cause future epidemics of canker on kiwifruit. To answer this question, we evaluated the pathogenicity, endophytic colonization capacity and competitiveness on kiwifruit of P.syringae strains genetically similar to epidemic strains and originally isolated from aquatic and subalpine habitats. All environmental strains possessing an operon involved in the degradation of aromatic compounds via the catechol pathway grew endophytically and caused symptoms in kiwifruit vascular tissue. Environmental and epidemic strains showed a wide host range, revealing their potential as future pathogens of a variety of hosts. Environmental strains co-existed endophytically with CFBP 7286, an epidemic strain, and shared about 20 virulence genes, but were missing six virulence genes found in all epidemic strains. By identifying the specific gene content in genetic backgrounds similar to known epidemic strains, we developed criteria to assess the epidemic potential and to survey for such strains as a means of forecasting and managing disease emergence.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 10:07:53 PM
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Claudia Bartoli, Jay Ram Lamichhane, Odile Berge, Caroline Guilbaud, Leonardo Varvaro, et al.. A framework to gauge the epidemic potential of plant pathogens in environmental reservoirs: the example of kiwifruit canker. Molecular Plant Pathology, 2015, 16 (2), pp.137 - 149. ⟨10.1111/mpp.12167⟩. ⟨hal-02637074⟩



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