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The revisited infection cycle of Xanthomonas albilineans, the causal agent of leaf scald of sugarcane

Daugrois J.H., Boisne-Noc R., Champoiseau P., Rott P.. 2012. Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology, 6 (2) : p. 91-97.

Leaf scald, a sugarcane disease caused by Xanthomonas albilineans, has been largely studied since its discovery in 1911. Numerous data were obtained and reported, from isolation, transmission and diagnosis of the pathogen to the complete sequence of its genome. Although X. albilineans was thought to be exclusively transmitted by infected cuttings and contaminated cutting implements for more than 80 years, the existence of an epiphytic life of this pathogen was reported in the late 1990s. We highlight herein the role of the epiphytic populationsof X. albilineans in plant and field contamination and the impact of environmental conditions, especially rainfall, on these populations of the pathogen. Data obtained from experimental research in Guadeloupe showed the capacity of X. albilineans, when rainfall is sufficient, to spread by aerial means within the sugarcane canopy in a field or between fields. This new epidemiological trait helps X. albilineans in contaminating rapidly healthy sugarcane plants and, in certain geographical locations, it can be much more important than disease spread by cutting implements. These new epidemiological data of sugarcane leaf scald lead us to propose a revisited infection cycle for X. albilineans.

Mots-clés : xanthomonas albilineans; saccharum officinarum; transmission des maladies; Épidémiologie; aptitude à coloniser; facteur du milieu; pluviomètre; surface foliaire; guadeloupe; france

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