Previous biochemical and molecular sequence analyses of Xanthomonas campestris pathovar musacearum, the etiological agent of banana Xanthomonas wilt, suggest that it belongs within the species Xanthomonas vasicola (X. vasicola pv. vasculorum and X. vasicola pathovar holcicola. However, the X. vasicola pathovar names were considered invalid according to pathovar naming standards and placed as one X. vasicola species; this was also not helped by the lack of sufficient comparative pathogenicity studies. Hence the proposal to rename X. campestris pathovar musacearum was no longer further supported. This study therefore carried out large scale comparative pathogenicity trial studies on the X. vasicola strains and X. campestris pathovar musacearum on 112 plants for banana and maize, and 84 plants for sugarcane, to establish or support the proper X. vasicola pathovar designations. The study also included nine common plant pathogenic Xanthomonas pathovars and one non-Xanthomonas strain. The six strains of X. campestris pathovar musacearum used in the study caused disease in sugarcane and banana but not on maize. 2 and 4 strains of X. vasicola pathovar vasculorum and X. vasicola pathovar holcicola, respectively were not only pathogenic on maize and sugarcane but each also caused distinct symptoms on maize. X. vasicola pathovar vasculorum caused deformation of the plant while X. vasicola pathovar holcicola caused stunted growth.
Key words: Pathogenicity, X. axonopodis pv. vasculorum, X.campestris pv. musacearum, X vasicola pv. holcicola, X. vasicola pv. vasculorum, Xanthomonas wilt of bananas.
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