First Report of "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" on Field Tomatoes in the United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • In August 2008, 30% of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants in plots in Lubbock County, Texas showed yellowing, lateral stem dieback, upward leaf curling, enlargement of stems, adventitious roots, and swollen nodes. Yellowing in leaves was similar to that seen with zebra chip disease (ZC) of potato that was confirmed in a potato field 112 km away in July 2008 and was associated with a 'Candidatus Liberibacter' species (1), similar to findings earlier in 2008 in New Zealand and California (2,3). Tissue from four symptomatic plants of cv. Spitfire and two of cv. Celebrity were collected and DNA was extracted from midribs and petioles with a FastDNA Spin Kit (Qbiogene, Inc., Carlsbad, CA,). PCR amplification was done with 16S rRNA gene primers OA2 and OI2c, which are specific for "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" from potato and tomato and amplify a 1.1-kb fragment of the 16S rRNA gene of this new species (1,3). Amplicons of 1.1 kb were obtained from all samples and these were sequenced in both orientations (McLab, San Francisco, CA). Sequences of the 16S rRNA gene were identical for both Spitfire and Celebrity and were submitted to the NCBI as GenBank Accession Nos. FJ939136 and FJ939137, respectively. On the basis of a BLAST search, sequence alignments revealed 99.9% identity with a new species of 'Ca. Liberibacter' from potato (EU884128 and EU884129) in Texas (1); 99.7% identity with the new species "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" described from potato and tomato (3) in New Zealand (EU849020 and EU834130, respectively) and from the potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli in California (2) (EU812559, EU812556); 97% identity with 'Ca L. asiaticus' from citrus in Malaysia (EU224393) and 94% identity with both 'Ca. L. africanus' and 'Ca. L. americanus' from citrus (EU921620 and AY742824, respectively). A neighbor-joining cladogram constructed using the 16S rRNA gene fragments delineated four clusters corresponding to each species, and these sequences clustered with "Ca. L. solanacearum". A second PCR analysis was conducted with the CL514F/CL514R primer pair, which amplifies a sequence from the rplJ and rplL ribosomal protein genes of "Ca. L. solanacearum". The resulting 669-bp products were 100% identical to a sequence reported from tomato in Mexico (FJ498807). This sequence was submitted to NCBI (GU169328). ZC, a disease causing losses to the potato industry, is associated with a 'Candidatus Liberibacter' species (1-3) and was reported in Central America and Mexico in the 1990s, in Texas in 2000, and more recently in other states in the United States (4). In 2008, a "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" was detected on Capsicum annuum, S. betaceum, and Physalis peruviana in New Zealand (3). Several studies have shown that the potato psyllid, B. cockerelli, is a potential vector for this pathogen (2,4). To our knowledge, this is the first report of "Ca. Liberibacter solanacearum" in field tomatoes showing ZC-like foliar disease symptoms in the United States. References: (1). J. A. Abad et al. Plant Dis. 93:108, 2009 (2) A. K. Hansen et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:5862, 2008. (3) L. W. Liefting et al. Plant Dis. 93:208, 2009. (4) G. A. Secor et al. Plant Dis. 93:574, 2009.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • French-Monar, R. D., Patton, A. F., Douglas, J. M., Abad, J. A., Schuster, G., Wallace, R. W., & Wheeler, T. A.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • French-Monar, RD||Patton, AF||Douglas, JM||Abad, JA||Schuster, G||Wallace, RW||Wheeler, TA

publication date

  • April 2010