Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A new clade of Dickeya spp. plays a major role in potato blackleg outbreaks in North Finland.

Abstract

Until recently Dickeya was regarded as a pathogen not established in Finland. As a result the blackleg symptom observed on potato was often associated with Pectobacterium atrosepticum. The occurrence of Dickeya spp. on potato in Finland was first reported in 2004. Since then the prevalence of Dickeya has been monitored through surveys and routine test of seed lots produced in the country. The results of monitoring of Dickeya spp. in seed lots produced in Finland between the years 2004 and 2008 indicated a steady increase in the incidence of Dickeya spp. The highest incidence was observed in samples from the 2006 growing season where about 37% were positive for Dickeya spp. The summer in 2006 was one of the warmest summers recorded in 100 years in Finland. The majority of infected lots were imported varieties. Since recently heavy blackleg outbreaks have occurred in production fields in the High Grade (HG) zone. A detailed study of these incidents of blackleg outbreaks in North Finland during the years 2008 and 2010 indicated that Dickeya spp. was the major component in the observed blackleg complex. It was detected and isolated from almost all symptomatic plants investigated. Repetitive sequences PCR (REP-PCR) and Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis of strains isolated in Finland showed identical pattern with those isolated recently in other European countries with a proposed name 'Dickeya solani'. Moreover, the dnaX gene sequence of the representative strains isolated in Finland indicated 100% similarity to the dnaX sequences of 'D. solani'. The study presents the first report of a detailed analysis of bacteria involved in potato blackleg complex from natural field outbreaks in North Finland HG zone and characterisation of the 'D. solani' strains playing the major role in the disease complex.