Pierce's Disease
Research Updates


What is Pierce's Disease?

Pierce's Disease is a bacterial infection, which is spread by bugs that feed on grapevines, particularly the "glassy winged sharpshooter." Grapevines that become infected with PD can quickly become sick and die.

glassy-winged sharpshooter

Effect of host plant xylem fluid on growth, aggregation, and attachment of Xylella fastidiosa

  • Author(s): Bi, JL; Cooksey, DA; Dumenyo, CK; Hernandez-Martinez, R; Toscano, NC;
  • Abstract: In the Temecula Valley of California the proximity of citrus groves to vineyards influences the incidence and severity of Pierce's disease (PD) in grapes, a disease caused by the gram-negative bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa. Although the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), the major insect vector of the bacterium, feeds on and moves back and forth between citrus groves and vineyards, there are no visible symptoms of disease caused by X. fastidiosa in citrus. Previous evidences suggested that while grapevines are susceptible to the PD strain of X. fastidiosa, citrus trees are resistant or tolerant but could be a reservoir to harbor the pathogen for the GWSS acquisition. We investigated the mechanisms of host plant resistance/susceptibility by examining the in vitro effect of xylem fluid from grapefruit, orange, lemon, and grape on the growth, aggregation, and attachment of a X. fastidiosa strain isolated from grape. Our results revealed that xylem fluid from grapefruit, orange, and lemon trees caused the bacterial cells to form aggregations of large whitish clumps, whereas the xylem fluid from grape vines created a visible thick biofilm. The densities of X. fastidiosa cells in grapefruit xylem fluid treatment were significantly higher at 6, 8, and 9 d postinoculation compared with those in grape xylem fluid treatment. The cell densities of X. fastidiosa cultures in orange or lemon xylem fluid were generally lower than those in grape xylem fluid treatment, whereas citrus xylem fluid significantly inhibited X. fastidiosa biofilm formation compared to grape xylem fluid.
  • Publication Date: Mar 2007
  • Journal: Journal Of Chemical Ecology