Interaction between endophytic bacteria from citrus plants and the phytopathogenic bacteria Xylella fastidiosa, causal agent of citrus-variegated chlorosis
To isolate endophytic bacteria and Xylella fastidiosa and also to evaluate whether the bacterial endophyte community contributes to citrus-variegated chlorosis (CVC) status in sweet orange (Citrus sinensis [L.] Osbeck cv. Pera). The presence of Xylella fastidiosa and the population diversity of culturable endophytic bacteria in the leaves and branches of healthy, CVC-asymptomatic and CVC-symptomatic sweet orange plants and in tangerine (Citrus reticulata cv. Blanco) plants were assessed, and the in vitro interaction between endophytic bacteria and X. fastidiosa was investigated. There were significant differences in endophyte incidence between leaves and branches, and among healthy, CVC-asymptomatic and CVC-symptomatic plants. Bacteria identified as belonging to the genus Methylobacterium were isolated only from branches, mainly from those sampled from healthy and diseased plants, from which were also isolated X. fastidiosa. The in vitro interaction experiments indicated that the growth of X. fastidiosa was stimulated by endophytic Methylobacterium extorquens and inhibited by endophytic Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens. This work provides the first evidence of an interaction between citrus endophytic bacteria and X. fastidiosa and suggests a promising approach that can be used to better understand CVC disease.