Genetic and phenotypic characterization of bacterial strains isolated in Japan that resemble Erwinia rhapontici and E. persicinus

  • Mizue TsujiEmail author
  • Ikuo Kadota
  • Yuichi Takikawa
Bacterial and Phytoplasma Diseases


The taxonomic identity of Japanese isolates of bacteria with physiological and biochemical characteristics similar to Erwinia rhapontici or E. persicinus was clarified using genetic analyses, pathogenicity tests and phenotypic characterization. In a phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA and housekeeping genes gyrB, rpoD, and recA, the strains formed two independent clusters, one for E. rhapontici and another for E. persicinus, each including the type strain. The E. rhapontici cluster had three subclusters: pink-pigmented strains isolated in Japan, the type strain, and nonpigmented strains isolated from wasabi. rep-PCR banding patterns confirmed this grouping. The ability to cause rot on plants and the rot severity depended on the strain, though virulence of E. rhapontici strains isolated in Japan tended to be relatively weaker than that of the others. Pink pigment formation by E. rhapontici and E. persicinus strains was abundant on onion, Welsh onion and garlic, but E. rhapontici strains isolated from wasabi did not produce pink pigment on any plants or media tested. Thus, the unknown strains from Japan that produced pink pigment were E. rhapontici or E. persicinus. Despite being nonpigmented, E. rhapontici strains from wasabi were genetically closely related to pink-pigmented E. rhapontici strains. Based on the rpoD sequence, two specific primer sets were newly designed to discriminate E. rhapontici and E. persicinus.


Erwinia persicinus Erwinia rhapontici Eutrema japonicum MLSA (multilocus sequence analysis) Pink pigment Specific discrimination primer Wasabi 



We sincerely thank Mr. Koichi Kawase for his cooperation in many experiments at the plant pathology laboratory of Shizuoka University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3460 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Phytopathological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Graduate School of Science and TechnologyShizuoka UniversityShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Tohoku Agricultural Research CenterMoriokaJapan

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