Xylella fastidiosa Isolates from Both subsp multiplex and fastidiosa Cause Disease on Southern Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) Under Greenhouse Conditions
Xylella fastidiosa is a xylem-limited gram-negative plant pathogen that affects numerous crop species, including grape, citrus, peach, pecan, and almond. Recently, X. fastidiosa has also been found to be the cause of bacterial leaf scorch on blueberry in the southeastern United States. Thus far, all X. fastidiosa isolates obtained from infected blueberry have been classified as X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex; however, X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa isolates are also present in the southeastern United States and commonly cause Pierce's disease of grapevines. In this study, seven southeastern U.S. isolates of X. fastidiosa, including three X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa isolates from grape, one X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa isolate from elderberry, and three X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex isolates from blueberry, were used to infect the southern highbush blueberry 'Rebel'. Following inoculation, all isolates colonized blueberry, and isolates from both X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex and X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa caused symptoms, including characteristic stem yellowing and leaf scorch symptoms as well as dieback of the stem tips. Two X. fastidiosa subsp. multiplex isolates from blueberry caused more severe symptoms than the other isolates examined, and infection with these two isolates also had a significant impact on host mineral nutrient content in sap and leaves. These findings have potential implications for understanding X. fastidiosa host adaptation and expansion and the development of emerging diseases caused by this bacterium.