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Mathews L. Paret, Aaron J. Palmateer and Gary W. Knox

Bacterial leaf spot on roses caused by a Xanthomonas sp. is a new disease affecting commercial rose production with the potential to cause major economic losses. In the past few decades, antimicrobial photocatalyst technology has emerged from basic research and development to provide convenient formulations of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, which have the ability to destroy bacteria on surfaces in the presence of light. In this study, a TiO2 nanoparticle formulation containing zinc (TiO2/Zn) was tested for management of bacterial leaf spot on Rosa ‘Noare’. TiO2/Zn caused significant reduction in the survival of Xanthomonas sp. strain Xr-1 on glass coverslips coated with the nanoparticles on exposure to light at 3 × 104 lux for 10 minutes. There was no reduction of bacterial viability in non-coated or non-illuminated controls. Field applications of TiO2/Zn at ≈500 to 800 ppm on Rosa ‘Noare’ significantly reduced bacterial spot severity compared with the untreated control. TiO2/Zn activity was better or on par with the ornamental industry standard for management of rose diseases.

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Theodore McAvoy, Joshua H. Freeman, Steven L. Rideout, Stephen M. Olson and Mathews L. Paret

Seven hybrid tomato rootstocks with possible resistance to bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum and a known resistant cultivar were tested as grafting rootstocks to impart resistance to a bacterial wilt-susceptible cultivar, BHN 602. Greenhouse studies showed resistance of all the rootstocks to bacterial wilt. The disease incidence and yield of ‘BHN 602’ grafted to these rootstocks were evaluated in open-field tomato production in Florida and Virginia over four seasons. Significant differences in bacterial wilt incidence were observed between grafted entries in three of the four trials. In these three trials, grafted entries consistently exhibited the least bacterial wilt incidence compared with the controls; the self-graft, and non-grafted entries. Over all the trials, tomato plants grafted onto ‘Cheong Gang’, ‘BHN 1054’, and ‘BHN 998’ displayed the least bacterial wilt incidence. Rootstocks had a significant effect on total marketable yield in all the trials with certain grafted entries yielding significantly greater than non-grafted ‘BHN 602’. Field studies show that grafting holds promise for decreasing the impact of bacterial wilt on tomato cultivars as well as increasing the overall productivity of tomato cultivars.

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Mathews L. Paret, Asoka S. de Silva, Richard A. Criley and Anne M. Alvarez

Fourteen species of ginger belonging to Zingiberaceae and Costaceae were evaluated for susceptibility to the bacterial wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum (Rs) race 4 (ginger strains) by several methods of inoculation, including tests to simulate natural infection. Twelve of 14 species tested were highly susceptible to all strains of Rs race 4 upon stem inoculation, and susceptible plants wilted within 21 days. In contrast to previous reports that Rs strains from an invasive alien species, kahili ginger (Hedychium gardenarium), are nonpathogenic on ornamental gingers, the kahili ginger strain wilted both ornamental and edible ginger (Zingiber officinale) species within 21 days. Pour inoculation to the base of 11 plant species to simulate natural infection confirmed the ability of Rs to invade all the tested species without root wounds. Shampoo ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) was the most susceptible (wilted in 26 days) whereas pink ginger (Alpinia purpurata) and red ginger (A. purpurata) were the least susceptible and wilted in 71 and 76 days respectively. Pathogen survival in potting medium was evaluated by enumerating viable cells in effluent water from drenched pots with and without infected edible ginger after stem or rhizome inoculation. Ralstonia solanacearum survived in plant-free potting medium for 120 days and for 150 to 180 days in potting medium with infected edible ginger. The ability of Rs race 4 to infect many ginger species without wounding and to survive for long periods indicates that high risks will be incurred if the kahili ginger strain is inadvertently introduced from the forest reserves into ginger production areas.

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Binoy Babu, Gary Knox, Mathews L. Paret and Francisco M. Ochoa-Corona

Rose rosette emaravirus (RRV, genus Emaravirus), the causal agent of rose rosette disease, is the topmost pathogen of concern for the rose industry in the United States. The only strategy available for disease management is early identification and eradication of the infected plants. Highly reliable, specific, and sensitive detection assays are thus required to test and confirm the presence of RRV in suspected plant samples. RRV is only a recently characterized virus and hence limits the diagnostic tools available for its early detection. With a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project sponsorship, several diagnostic tools including end-point reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and RT-qPCR assays targeting single and multiple genes targets were developed for routine diagnostics. This review introduces an overall view of the different diagnostic tools developed, which are reliable, highly sensitive, and can be easily implemented for detection and identification in laboratories providing diagnostic services and confirmation of RRV-infected samples.

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Mathews L. Paret, Ryo Kubota, Daniel M. Jenkins and Anne M. Alvarez

Ralstonia solanacearum (Rs) race 4 strains cause bacterial wilt of edible ginger (Zingiber officinale). The survival of the pathogen was studied in plant-free soil and potting medium in the presence of plants inoculated by different methods (non-wounded, rhizome-wounded, and stem-wounded) and irrigated on different schedules (alternate and daily). Detection thresholds for Rs were determined for an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA), immunostrip assay, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using drainage water from soil and potting medium containing known concentrations of Rs. In the absence of a plant or in the presence of non-wounded plants, Rs populations declined rapidly in drainage water from potting medium during the first 9 days and were undetectable after 81 days. When plants were stem- or rhizome-wounded, Rs populations increased by two to three orders of magnitude from the initial population levels for the first 9 to 19 days and then gradually declined and became undetectable after 89 days. Results were similar in experiments with soil except for non-wounded ginger plants, where the initial decline in Rs populations was followed by an abrupt increase after day 11, reaching 7 log cfu/mL on day 21, then declining gradually to non-detectable levels after 137 days. The increase was attributed to natural infection of the plants followed by release of high populations of Rs into the irrigation water when plants wilted. When rhizome-inoculated plants were watered on alternate days, Rs was recovered from 97 to 129 days in soil and potting medium, but when the plants were watered daily, Rs was recovered in soil and potting medium up to 153 days after plant inoculation. ELISA using Ps1a monoclonal antibody detected the pathogen from >95% of the samples from soil and potting medium when viable populations were >5 log cfu/mL. The immunostrip assay (using the same antibody) detected the pathogen from 100% of the samples when viable populations were >3 log cfu/mL. PCR based on the flagellin gene fliC detected the pathogen from >95% of the samples from soil and from >74% of the samples from potting medium when viable populations were >4 log cfu/mL.