Acidovorax citrulli causes bacterial fruit blotch in Cucurbitaceae, including watermelon. Although A. citrulli is a seed-borne pathogen, it can cause diverse symptoms in other plant organs like leaves, stems and fruits. To determine the infection routes of A. citrulli, we examined the virulence of six isolates (Ac0, Ac1, Ac2, Ac4, Ac8, and Ac11) on watermelon using several inoculation methods. Among six isolates, DNA polymorphism reveals that three isolates Ac0, Ac1, and Ac4 belong to Clonal Complex (CC) group II and the others do CC group I. Ac0, Ac4, and Ac8 isolates efficiently infected seeds during germination in soil, and Ac0 and Ac4 also infected the roots of watermelon seedlings wounded prior to inoculation. Infection through leaves was successful only by three isolates belonging to CC group II, and two of these also infected the mature watermelon fruits. Ac2 did not cause the disease in all assays. Interestingly, three putative type III effectors (Aave_2166, Aave_2708, and Aave_3062) with intact forms were only found in CC group II. Overall, our results indicate that A. citrulli can infect watermelons through diverse routes, and the CC grouping of A. citrulli was only correlated with virulence in leaf infection assays.
bacterial fruit blotch;clonal complex groups;effector genes;infection;virulence;