Improved PCR for identification of members of the genus Xanthomonas
A PCR-based system was developed to reliably and robustly identify group I and II members of the genus Xanthomonas. Primer sets developed from three gene targets namely fyuA, ITS and gumD were evaluated in the study. Primer sets were evaluated using DNA extracted from 45 Xanthomonas strains representing 25 species broadly covering the genus. Fifteen non-Xanthomonas strains of plant-associated bacteria including phylogenetically closely related species Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Xylella fastidiosa were also tested. The primers targeting fyuA amplified DNA from all xanthomonads except X. theicola, while the ITS primers amplified a DNA fragment of 254 bp in all 45 Xanthomonas strains; whereas no amplification was observed for non-xanthomonads. The gumD primers allowed efficient amplification of DNA in 38 out of 39 isolates from Group II, whereas no or very weak amplification occurred with DNA from Group I members. Internal controls of primers targeting bacterial 16S rDNA or plant 26S mitochondrial rDNA were successfully applied in multiplex PCRs for testing bacterial cultures or plant tissue, respectively. The findings give us a PCR based approach that can reliably and effectively differentiate xanthomonads from non-xanthomonads as well as separating the strains belonging to the two described groups of the genus Xanthomonas. The study thus offers valuable tools for disease surveillance and management. It can effectively be applied in rapid assessment of new disease occurrences, for which no specific detection tools could be in place.