Genetic Structure of Ralstonia solanacearum and Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum in Brazil.
Bacterial wilt-causing Ralstonia threaten numerous crops throughout the world. We studied the population structure of 196 isolates of Ralstonia solanacearum and 39 isolates of Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum, which were collected from potato- and tomato-growing areas in 19 states of Brazil. Regardless of the species, three groups of isolates were identified. One group encompassed R. pseudosolanacearum isolates. The other two groups comprise isolates of R. solanacearum (phylotype II) split according to geographic regions, one made of isolates from the North and Northeast and the other made of isolates from the Central, Southeast, and South regions (CSS). Among the isolates collected in CSS, those from tomato were genetically distinct from the potato isolates. The genetic variability in the population of R. pseudosolanacearum was lower than that of R. solanacearum, suggesting that the former was introduced in Brazil. Conversely, the high genetic variability of R. solanacearum in all regions, hosts, and times supports the hypothesis that this species is autochthonous in South America, more precisely in Brazil and Peru. For R. solanacearum, higher variability and lower migration rates were observed when tomato isolates were analyzed, indicating that the variability is caused mainly by the differences of the local, native soil population. The North subpopulation was distinct from all others, possibly because of differences in environmental features of this region. The proximity of some geographic regions and the movement of potato tubers could have facilitated migration and therefore low genetic differentiation between geographic regions. Finally, geography, which also influences host distribution, affects the structure of the population of R. solanacearum in Brazil. Despite quarantine procedures in Brazil, increasing levels of trade are a threat to biosecurity, and these results emphasize the need for improving our regional efforts to prevent the dispersal of pathogens.