Diverse members of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex cause bacterial wilts of bananas.
The bacterial wilts of banana known as Moko disease, Bugtok disease and blood disease are caused by members of the R. solanacearum species complex. R. solanacearum is a heterogeneous species which has been divided into 4 genetic groups known as phylotypes. Within the R. solanacearum species complex, strains that cause Moko and Bugtok diseases belong to phylotype II. The blood disease bacterium, the cause of blood disease, belongs to phylotype IV. This study employs phylogenetic analysis of partial endoglucanase gene sequences to further assess the evolutionary relationships between strains of R. solanacearum causing Moko disease and Bugtok disease and the relationship of the blood disease bacterium to other R. solanacearum strains within phylotype IV of the R. solanacearum species complex. These analyses showed that R. solanacearum Moko disease-causing strains are polyphyletic, forming four related, but distinct, clusters of strains. One of these clusters is a previously unrecognised group of R. solanacearum Moko disease-causing strains. It was also found that R. solanacearum strains that cause Bugtok disease are indistinguishable from strains causing Moko disease in the Philippines. Phylogenetic analysis of partial endoglucanase gene sequences of the strains of the blood disease confirms a close relationship of these strains to R. solanacearum strains within phylotype IV of the R. solanacearum species complex.