African Journal of Biotechnology

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Xanthomonads and other yellow-pigmented Xanthomonas-like bacteria associated with tomato seeds in Tanzania

ER Mbega, EG Wulff, RB Mabagala, J Adriko, OS Lund, CN Mortensen


Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) seeds habour unique bacterial community that can be pathogenic or beneficial to their host. Xanthomonas causing bacterial leaf spot (BLSX) on tomato and other yellow-pigmented xanthomonads-like bacteria (XLB) that closely resemble BLSX were obtained from tomato seeds collected from Northern, Central and Southern highland regions of Tanzania. A total of 73 strains were isolated from 52 seed samples of 15 tomato cultivars. Results obtained with Biolog and sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene showed that samples originating from Central Tanzania harbored the most diverse populations of XLB and BLSX as compared to Northern and Southern Tanzania. The predominant bacterial genera in tomato seeds were Stenotrophomonas, Sphingomonas, Chryseobacterium, Xanthomonas, Pantoea and Flavobacterium. All strains identified by Biolog as Xanthomonas with exception of Xanthomonas campestris pv. malvacearum, were pathogenic on tomato and pepper plants. Strains identified by Biolog as Sphingomonas sanguinis and Sphingomonas terrae also incited black rot symptoms on pepper leaves. However, bacterial strains belonging to the genus Stenotrophomonas, Chryseobacterium, Pantoea and Flavobacterium were not pathogenic on tomato and pepper. Phylogenetic analysis showed that strains of the genus Xanthomonas are more closely related to Stenotrophomonas and Pantoea compared to the other bacterial genera found in tomato seeds.

Key words: Xanthomonas, yellow-pigmented bacteria, seed, tomato, phylogeny.
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