Detection of streptomycin resistance in Erwinia amylovora strains isolated from apple orchards in Chihuahua, Mexico
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Fire blight, one of the most severe diseases of apple and pear, is caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. One control method is the use of antibiotics like streptomycin; however, streptomycin is the only antibiotic registered to control fire blight. A total of 107 E. amylovora strains were isolated from apple orchards located in Cuauhtémoc and Guerrero, Chihuahua, two major apple-producing areas in Mexico, showing 40 and 24 % streptomycin-resistant strains, respectively. The identification of E. amylovora strains was performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of a 900-bp region located within the non-transferable pEA29 plasmid and by amplification of a specific 1,269-bp region located on the E. amylovora chromosome. The 107 isolates tested carried the pEA29 plasmid, and 36 % of the isolates from both locations showed high resistance to streptomycin at levels that ranged from 200 to ≥1,000 μg ml−1 streptomycin. The strA-strB and aadA genes, which encode enzymes that inactivate streptomycin, and a mutation in codon 43 of the rpsL gene that confers high resistance to the antibiotic were examined to determine the mechanism of streptomycin resistance. In total, 95 % of the resistant strains showed a single base pair mutation in codon 43 of the rpsL gene, causing an amino acid substitution in ribosomal protein S12. The presence of strA-strB and aadA genes or the rpsL mutation was not identified in the other 5 % of resistant strains, suggesting the existence of a new streptomycin resistance mechanism in E. amylovora.
KeywordsErwinia amylovora Apple Fire blight Streptomycin resistance
The authors thank José Carlos Galaviz-Rodríguez and Mayra Zamarrón-Ferreiro for technical assistance.
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