Plant Disease (1999) 83, 527-530

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C.C. Block, J.H. Hill and D.C. McGee (1999)
Relationship between late-season severity of Stewart's bacterial wilt and seed infection in maize
Plant Disease 83 (6), 527-530
Abstract: The relationship between the amount of foliar disease on maize plants and seed contamination by the causal bacterium, Pantoea stewartii, was studied by comparing disease severity on adult plants with results from laboratory seed tests. Seventy-seven naturally infected maize lines (25 in 1990 and 52 in 1992) were selected and assigned to one of six disease severity classes based on the percentage of ear leaf tissue killed by Stewart's wilt: trace to 2%, 6 to 14%, 25 to 34%, 35 to 49%, 50 to 74%, and 75 to 100%. Ears were harvested from 10 to 20 plants representative of the disease class for each maize line, and seeds were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of bulk-seed samples. Seed infection percentages were estimated from the bulk-test results by using statistical equations for group testing. The accuracy of the bulk-seed method for estimating seed infection was validated by comparison with 300-kernel single-seed tests. Infected seed was detected only from seed of plants with >=25% disease severity; however, 45 of 63 such seed lots had no infection. Three seed lots had >5% infected seeds, all from plants with >50% disease severity. The results suggest a possible threshold level between 15 and 25% disease severity for Stewart's wilt on leaves before bacteria are detected in seed. This study describes a relatively simple method for estimating the incidence of infected seeds in a seed lot and contributes additional evidence to indicate that the chance of spreading P. stewartii from U.S.-produced maize seeds is low.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Charles C. Block, John H. Hill

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
transmission/dispersal of plant diseases
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Pantoea stewartii Maize/corn (Zea mays) U.S.A. (mid N)