An outbreak of bacterial soft rot and blackleg of potato has occurred since 2014 with the epicenter being in the northeastern region of the United States. Multiple species of Pectobacterium and Dickeya are causal agents, resulting in losses to commercial and seed potato production over the past decade in the Northeastern and North Central United States. To clarify the pathogen present at the outset of the epidemic in 2015 and 2016, a phylogenetic study was made of 121 pectolytic soft rot bacteria isolated from symptomatic potato; also included were 27 type strains of Dickeya and Pectobacterium species, and 47 historic reference strains. Phylogenetic trees constructed based on multilocus sequence alignments of concatenated dnaJ, dnaX and gyrB fragments revealed the epidemic isolates to cluster with type strains of D. chrysanthemi, D. dianthicola, D. dadantii, P. atrosepti-cum, P. brasiliense, P. carotovorum, P. parmentieri, P. polaris, P. punjabense, and P. versatile. Genetic diversity within D. dianthicola strains was low, with one sequence type (ST1) identified in 17 of 19 strains. Pectobacterium parmentieri was more diverse, with ten sequence types detected among 37 of the 2015–2016 strains. This study can aid in monitoring future shifts in potato soft rot pathogens within the U.S. and inform strategies for disease management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)