Rhodococcus fascians in Herbaceous Perennials

In examining host reports and lists, we have found that different criteria have been used for inclusion in host susceptibility listings

M. L. Putnam; M. L. Miller

2007

Scholarcy highlights

  • In the pantheon of plant-pathogenic bacteria, those that are gram positive often receive short shrift, being overshadowed by the more numerous gram-negative species
  • Recently we at the Oregon State University Plant Clinic found that one gram-positive bacterial pathogen, Rhodococcus fascians Goodfellow 1984, has been causing persistent problems in the ornamentals industry, in herbaceous perennials
  • We suspect that leafy gall and shoot proliferations caused by R. fascians have been on the rise in recent years due to the high demand for herbaceous perennials, plants that persist for at least 2 years, and lack permanent woody tissue
  • The majority of R. fascians cells reside on the surface of infected tissues, and treatment by flaming or using chemical disinfectants greatly reduces the number of viable bacteria
  • We have used Biolog extensively for identification of bacteria recovered from symptomatic plants, and we have found it to be unreliable for correctly identifying pure cultures of R. fascians
  • The length of time involved in isolating, purifying, and identifying the recovered bacteria, plus inoculating a host to confirm pathogenicity, means that it can take months to confirm a diagnosis of R. fascians
  • Mohanty remarked that some R. fascians strains known to be pathogenic after isolation no longer produced symptoms when inoculated years later

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