Grape Cultivar and Sap Culture Conditions Affect the Development of Xylella fastidiosa Phenotypes Associated with Pierce's Disease

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Xylella fastidiosa is a xylem-limited bacterium in plant hosts and causes Pierce's disease (PD) of grapevines, which differ in susceptibility according to the Vitis species (spp.). In this work we compared X. fastidiosa biofilm formation and population dynamics when cultured in xylem saps from PD-susceptible and -resistant Vitis spp. under different conditions. Behaviors in a closed-culture system were compared to those in different sap-renewal cultures that would more closely mimic the physicochemical environment encountered in planta. Significant differences in biofilm formation and growth in saps from PD-susceptible and- resistant spp. were only observed using sap renewal culture. Compared to saps from susceptible V. vinifera, those from PD-resistant V. aestivalis supported lower titers of X. fastidiosa and less biofilm and V. champinii suppressed both growth and biofilm formation, behaviors which are correlated with disease susceptibility. Furthermore, in microfluidic chambers X. fastidiosa formed thick mature biofilm with three-dimensional (3-D) structures, such as pillars and mounds, in saps from all susceptible spp. In contrast, only small aggregates of various shapes were formed in saps from four out of five of the resistant spp.; sap from the resistant spp. V. mustangensis was an exception in that it also supported thick lawns of biofilm but not the above described 3-D structures typically seen in a mature biofilm from the susceptible saps. Our findings provide not only critical technical information for future bioassays, but also suggest further understanding of PD susceptibility.


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  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Vitis aestivalis
  • Vitis candicans
  • Vitis vinifera
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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