Evidence that Xylella fastidiosa can cause leaf scorch disease of pecan
The disease known as pecan fungal leaf scorch has been reported to be either caused by or associated with several fungi since it was first recognized in 1972. Data are presented that indicate the disease is initiated by the fastidious xylem-limited bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. X. fastidiosa was found consistently associated with fungal leaf scorch disease of pecan (Carya illinoinensis) in commercial orchards in Louisiana. It was generally not detected in symptomless trees. The disease was reproduced by inoculation of greenhouse seedlings and grafted trees with cultures of the bacterium obtained from leaves with fungal leaf scorch. The bacterium was reisolated from symptomatic tissue of inoculated pecan seedlings, but not from symptomless plants inoculated with water to complete Koch's postulates. It is proposed that the name of the disease be changed to pecan bacterial leaf scorch because fungi do not appear to be necessary for symptom development.