Biological traits of Xylella fastidiosa strains from grapes and almonds
Xylella fastidiosa is a xylem-limited bacterium that causes various diseases, among them Pierce's disease of grapevine (PD) and almond leaf scorch (ALS). PD and ALS have long been considered to be caused by the same strain of this pathogen, but recent genetic studies have revealed differences among X. fastidiosa isolated from these host plants. We tested the hypothesis that ALS is caused by PD and ALS strains in the field and found that both groups of X. fastidiosa caused ALS and overwintered within almonds after mechanical inoculation. Under greenhouse conditions, all isolates caused AILS and all isolates from grapes caused PD. However, isolates belonging to almond genetic groupings did not cause PD in inoculated grapes but systemically infected grapes with lower frequency and populations than those belonging to grape strains. Isolates able to cause both PD and ALS developed 10-fold-higher concentrations of X. fastidiosa in grapes than in almonds. In the laboratory, isolates from grapes overwintered with higher efficiency in grapes than in almonds and isolates from almonds overwintered better in almonds than in grapes. We assigned strains from almonds into groups I and II on the basis of their genetic characteristics, growth on PD3 solid medium, and bacterial populations within inoculated grapevines. Our results show that genetically distinct strains from grapes and almonds differ in population behavior and pathogenicity in grapes and in the ability to grow on two different media.