Population structure and biodiversity of Pectobacterium parmentieri isolated from potato fields in temperate climate.
Pectobacterium parmentieri (formerly Pectobacterium wasabiae) is a newly established species of pectinolytic plant-pathogenic bacteria responsible for the symptoms of soft rot and blackleg on potato. In this work, we describe biodiversity and the population structure of P. parmentieri strains isolated during two consecutive growing seasons from the seed potato fields in Poland. About 450 samples of diseased potato tubers, potato plants, or accompanying weeds were collected throughout the country and tested for the presence of P. parmentieri by molecular identification methods. We found that P. parmentieri strains commonly occur in almost all regions of Poland. Furthermore, these isolates constituted significant fraction of pectinolytic bacteria from seed potato fields because 16% (2013) and 13% (2014) of the analyzed plant samples were infected with P. parmentieri. Subsequently, a detailed characterization of the obtained strains was conducted basing on repetitive sequences profiling, recA-gene-based phylogeny, and phenotypic features. By applying repetitive extragenic palindromic sequence-based polymerase chain reaction (REP-PCR), we revealed the presence of five distinct genomic profiles among P. parmentieri strains, with profile I being the most abundant (approximately 44%). The performed recA gene-based phylogenetic analysis divided P. parmentieri isolates into two distinct clades, although the strains originating from different years did not group separately. Evaluation of the phenotypic traits playing crucial roles for the virulence of pectinolytic bacteria (namely, pectinase, cellulase and protease activities, and siderophore production, in addition to potato tissue maceration, swimming, and swarming motility) indicated some differences among the characterized strains. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that describes biodiversity and the population structure of P. parmentieri isolated in two growing seasons under temperate climate conditions and, hence, illustrates high heterogeneity within this species.