A Severe Outbreak of Xanthomonason Ficus elastica in South Florida

Eric Vanessa Campoverde, Aaron J Palmateer


A severe outbreak of Xanthomonas blight on Ficus elasticawas observed in several nurseries in Miami–Dade County during summer of 2010. Bacteria were isolated from diseased plants and maintained on yeast dextrose chalk (YDC) agar for DNA extraction and PCR assays. The 16S rDNA gene was sequenced and results indicated that the isolated strain is 99% identical to that of Xanthomonas spp. Pathogenicity was confirmed by spraying a bacterial cell suspension of 1 × 108 colony-forming units (cfu)/mL onto F. elasticavariety ‘Burgandy’. Plants were placed in a modified humidity chamber (polyethylene bags) for 48 hours and then maintained in a shade house where temperature ranged from 23 to 32 °C and 60% to 95% relative humidity. After symptoms developed, the bacteria were re-isolated and identified using methods described above. Xanthomonas spp. has been previously reported on other species of Ficus; however, this is the first report on F. elastica. Further characterization of the pathogen, host range studies, and the effect of temperature and light on disease development are under way.


Xanthomonas sp., bacterial disease, Ficus sp., foliage disease, plant pathogen.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283