Apr 17, 2020Wild tomato resistance to bacterial canker eyed by commercial tomato industry
Bacterial canker of tomato is a disease that leads to wilt, cankers, and eventually death. The disease was first discovered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1909, but annual outbreaks now affect tomato production areas worldwide. For some farmers, bacterial canker can be devastating and spoil an entire season’s planting.
Bacterial canker is caused by the pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis, which infects commercially bred tomatoes by colonizing the xylem, a series of tubes that transports water and minerals throughout the plant. There a
Scientists at the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University were interested in understanding how C. michiganensis colonized the xylem in wild tomato and comparing to colonization of cultivated tomatoes. They found a significant difference, according to the paper published in Phytopathology.
F. Christopher Peritore-Galve, lead author of this paper, explains: “Interestingly, the pathogen colonizes to high densities close to the inoculation site in wild tomatoes, but it is found in much lower densities 5 and 10 centimeters above that site, meaning that the bacteria are unable to spread through the xylem as well as in cultivated tomato xylem.”
Additional research showed that the pathogen was restricted to the protoxylem vessels in vascular bundles of wild tomato.
Understanding what makes wild tomatoes able to tolerate this pathogen may help with future breeding efforts. For more information about this study, read “Characterizing Colonization Patterns of Clavibacter michiganens is During Infection of Tolerant Wild Solanum Species.”
– The American Phytopathological Society