Bacterial leaf blight (BLB) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), is a very destructive rice disease worldwide. The aim of the present study was to examine if the Xoo virulence pathotypes obtained using phenotypic pathotyping could be confirmed using molecular approach. After screening of 60 Operon primers with genomic DNA of two Xoo isolates (virulent pathotype, Vr and mildly virulent pathotype, MVr), 12 Operon primers that gave reproducible and useful genetic information were selected and used to analyze 50 Xoo isolates from 7 West African countries. Genetic analysis revealed two major Xoo virulence molecular type (Mt) which were Mta and Mtb with Mta having two subgroups (Mta1 and Mta2). Mta1 (Vr1) subgroup genotype has occurrence in six countries and Mta2 (Vr2) in three countries while Mtb genotype characterized mildly virulence (MVr) Xoo isolates present in five countries. The study revealed possible linkage and correlation between phenotypic pathotyping and molecular typing of Xoo virulence. Durable resistance rice cultivars would need to overcome both Mta and Mtb Xoo virulence genotypes in order to survive after their deployment into different rice ecologies in West Africa.
Key words: Bacterial leaf blight, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), Xoo virulence pathotype, molecular typing, genomic DNA, Operon primer, Xoo virulence genotype, Xoo pathogen migration, West Africa.
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