Polyphasic characterization of Xanthomonas strains from onion

David H. Gent, Howard F. Schwartz, Carol A. Ishimaru, Frank J. Louws, Robert A. Cramer, Christopher B. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Xanthomonas leaf blight has become an increasingly important disease of onion, but the diversity among Xanthomonas strains isolated from onion is unknown, as is their relationship to other species and pathovars of Xanthomonas. Forty-nine Xanthomonas strains isolated from onion over 27 years from 10 diverse geographic regions were characterized by pathogenicity to onion and dry bean, fatty acid profiles, substrate utilization patterns (Biolog), bactericide resistance, repetitive sequence-based polymerase chain reaction fingerprinting, rDNA internally transcribed spacer (ITS) region, and hrp b6 gene sequencing. Multiplication of onion Xanthomonas strain R-O177 was not different from X. axonopodis pv. phaseoli in dry bean, but typical common bacterial blight disease symptoms were absent in dry bean. Populations from each geographical region were uniformly sensitive to 100 μg of CuSO4, 100 μg of ZnSO4, and 100 μg of streptomycin sulfate per ml. Biolog substrate utilization and fatty acid profiles revealed close phenoltypic relatedness between onion strains of Xanthomonas and X. axonopodis pv. dieffenbachiae (57% of strains) and X. arboricola pv. poinsettiicola (37% of strains), respectively. A logistic regression model based on fatty acid composition and substrate utilization classified 69% of strains into their geographical region of origin. Sequencing of a portion of the hrp B6 gene from 24 strains and ITS region from 25 strains revealed greater than 97% sequence similarity among strains. DNA fingerprinting revealed five genotype groups within onion strains of Xanthomonas and a high degree of genetic diversity among geographical regions of origin. Based on pathogenicity to onion, carbon substrate utilization, fatty acid profiles, rDNA genetic diversity, and genomic fingerprints, we conclude that the strains examined in this study are pathovar X. axonopodis pv. allii. Implications of genetic and phenotypic diversity within X. axonopodis pv. allii are discussed in relation to an integrated pest management program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Allium cepa
  • Allium fistulosum
  • Capsicum annuum
  • Phaseolus vulgaris


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