Assessing changes and associations in the Xanthomonas perforans population across Florida commercial tomato fields via a statewide survey.
Before 1991, Xanthomonas euvesicatoria was the causal agent of bacterial spot of tomato in Florida but was quickly replaced by X. perforans. The X. perforans population has changed in genotype and phenotype despite lack of a clear selection pressure. To determine the current Xanthomonas population in Florida, we collected 585 Xanthomonas strains from 70 tomato fields, representing 22 farms across eight counties, in the Florida tomato production region. Strains were isolated from 23 cultivars across eight seed producers and were associated with eight transplant facilities during the fall 2017 season. Our collection was phenotypically and genotypically characterized. Only X. perforans was identified, and all strains except one (99.8%) were tolerant to copper sulfate and 25% of strains were resistant to streptomycin sulfate. Most of the strains (99.3%) that were resistant to streptomycin sulfate were sequence type 1. The X. perforans population consisted of tomato races 3 (8%) and 4 (92%) and all three previously reported sequence types, ranging from 22 to 46% frequency. Approximately half of all strains, none of which were sequence type 2, produced bacteriocins against X. euvesicatoria. Effector profiles were highly variable among strains, which could impact the strains' host range. The effector xopJ4, which was previously thought to be conserved in X. perforans tomato pathogens, was absent in 19 strains. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and network analyses show how strains and strain traits were associated with production system variables, including anonymized farms and transplant facilities. These analyses show that the composition of the Florida X. perforans population is diverse and complex.