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Xanthomonas translucens growing on sucrose peptone agar showing yellow pigment
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Gamma Proteobacteria
Order: Xanthomonadales
Family: Xanthomonadaceae
Genus: Xanthomonas
Dowson 1939

X. albilineans
X. alfalfae
X. ampelina
X. arboricola
X. axonopodis
X. boreopolis
X. badrii
X. bromi
X. campestris
X. cassavae
X. citri
X. codiaei
X. cucurbitae
X. cyanopsidis
X. cynarae
X. euvesicatoria
X. fragariae
X. gardneri
X. holcicola
X. hortorum
X. hyacinthi
X. malvacearum
X. maltophilia
X. manihotis
X. melonis
X. oryzae
X. papavericola
X. perforans
X. phaseoli
X. pisi
X. populi
X. sacchari
X. theicola
X. translucens
X. vasicola
X. vesicatoria

Xanthomonas is a genus of Proteobacteria, many of which cause plant diseases.

Xanthomonas Taxonomy

The Xanthomonas genus has been subject of numerous taxonomic and phylogenetic studies and was first described as Bacterium vesicatorium as a pathogen of pepper and tomato in 1921.[1] Dowson [2] later reclassified the bacterium as Xanthomonas campestris and proposed the genus Xanthomonas.[3] Xanthomonas was first described as a monotypic genus and further research resulted in the division into 2 groups, A and B.[4][5] Later work using DNA:DNA hybridization has served as a framework for the general Xanthomonas spp. classification.[6][7] Other tools including Multi-locus Sequence Analysis (MLSA) and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) have been utilized for classification within clades.[8][9] So while previous research has illustrated the complexity of the Xanthomonas genus, it appears that recent research has resulted in a clearer picture. More recently, genome wide analysis of multiple Xanthomonas strains mostly support the previous phylogenies.[10]

Morphology and Growth[edit]

Individual cell characteristics

Cell type - straight rods

Size - 0.4 - 1.0 µm wide by 1.2 - 3.0 µm long

Motility - motile by a single polar flagellum

Colony Growth Characteristics

mucoid, convex, and yellow on YDC media [11]

Yellow pigment from xanthomonadin, which contains Bromine

Most produce large amounts of extracellular polysaccharide

Biochemical and Physiological Tests

Gram stain - negative

Catalase positive [11]

Oxidase negative [11]

Temperature Range - 4 to 37 C

Isolation Procedure

Infected plant tissue should be surface disinfested using a dilute Clorox solution (10%) and rinse thoroughly. If unsure of bacterial presence, examine symptomatic tissue by cutting along the infected area, placing cut tissue on glass microscope slide and cover with a cover-slip, and examine for bacterial streaming at high magnification. At 200X magnification, bacterial streaming can be observed as an oozing mass from the cut area. Once bacterial streaming is confirmed, place surface disinfested tissue in a few drops of sterile water and allow bacteria to stream out into the water droplet. After bacteria has colonized the water droplet (30–60 seconds), use a sterile loop to streak the bacteria on to solid agar media. Allow the bacteria to grow for at least 48 hours at room temperature and examine periodically for colony growth.

Xanthomonas Plant Pathogens[edit]

Xanthomonas spp. can cause bacterial spots and blights of leaves, stems, and fruits on a wide variety of plant species [12] Pathogenic species show high degrees of specificity and some are split into multiple pathovars, a species designation based on host specificity.

Citrus canker, caused by Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri is an economically important disease of many citrus species (lime, orange, lemon, pamelo, etc.)[10]

Bacterial leaf spot has caused significant crop losses over the years. Causes of this disease include Xanthomonas euvesicatoria and Xanthomonas perforans = [Xanthomonas axonopodis (syn. campestris) pv. vesicatoria], Xanthomonas vesicatoria, and Xanthomonas gardneri. In some areas where infection begins soon after transplanting, the total crop can be lost as a result of this disease.[13]

Bacterial blight of rice, caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, is a disease that is found worldwide and particularly destructive in the rice producing regions in Asia.[14]

Plant Pathogenesis and Disease Control[edit]

Xanthomonas species can be easily spread in water, movement of infected material like seed or propagation plants, and by mechanical means like infected pruning tools. Upon contact with a susceptible host, bacteria will enter through wounds or natural plant openings as a means to infect.[13] They inject a number of effector proteins, including TAL effectors, into the plant via their secretion systems (i.e., Type III Secretion System)

To prevent infections, limiting the introduction of the bacteria is key. Some resistant cultivars of certain plant species are available as this may be the most economical means for controlling this disease. For chemical control, preventative applications are best to reduce the potential for bacteria development. Copper containing products offer some protection along with field grade antibiotics like oxytetracycline, which is labeled for use on some food crops in the United States. Curative applications of chemical pesticides may slow or reduce the spread of the bacterium, but will not cure already diseased plants.[15] It is important to consult chemical pesticide labels when attempting to control bacterial diseases as different Xanthomonas species can have different responses to these applications. Over-reliance on chemical control methods can also result in the selection of resistant isolates so these applications should be considered a last resort.

Industrial Use of Xanthomonas[edit]

Xanthomonas produces an extrapolysaccharide called xanthan gum that has a wide range of industrial uses including foods, petroleum products, and cosmetics.

Xanthomonas Resources[edit]

Isolates of most species of Xanthomonas are available from the National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (NCPPB) in the United Kingdom and other international culture collections such as ICMP in New Zealand, CFBP in France, and VKM in Russia. It is also taken out from M.T.C.C. India.

Multiple genomes of Xanthomonas have been sequenced and additional data sets/tools are available at The Xanthomonas Resource:.[16]


  1. ^ Doidge, E.M. (1921). "A tomato canker". Annual Review of Applied Biology 7: 407–30. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7348.1921.tb05528.x. 
  2. ^ Dowson, W.J. (1939). "On the systematic position and generic names of the gram negative bacterial plant pathogens". Zentralblatt fur Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde, Infektionskrankheiten und Hygiene.: 177–193. 
  3. ^ Dye, D.W. (1978). "A Proposed Nomenclature and Classification for Plant Pathogenic Bacteria.". N Z J Agric Res: 153–177. 
  4. ^ Stall, R.E., Beaulieu, C., Egel, D.S. (1994). "Two genetically diverse groups of strains are included in Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria". Int J Syst Bacteriol 44: 47–53. 
  5. ^ Vauterin, L., Swings, J, Kersters, K. et al. (1990). "Towards an improved taxonomy of Xanthomonas". Int J Syst Bacteriol 40: 312–316. 
  6. ^ Rademaker, J.L.W., Louws, F.J., and Schultz, M.H. (2005). "A comprehensive species to strain taxonomic framework for Xanthomonas". Phytopathology 95: 1098–1111. 
  7. ^ Vauterin, L., Hoste, B., Kersters, K., and Swings, J. (1995). "Reclassification of Xanthomonas". Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 45: 472. 
  8. ^ Ah-You, N. Gagnevin, L., Grimont, PAD, et al. (2009). "Polyphasic characterization of xanthomonads pathogenic to members of the Anacardiaceae and their relatedness to species of Xanthomonas.". Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 59: 306–318. 
  9. ^ Young, J.M., Wilkie, J.P., Park, D.S., Watson, D.R.W. (2010). "New Zealand strains of plant pathogenic bacteria classified by multi-locus sequence analysis; proposal of Xanthomonas dyei sp. nov.". Plant Pathol 59: 270–281. 
  10. ^ a b Rodriguez-R LM, Grajales A, Arrieta-Ortiz ML, Salazar C, Restrepo S, Bernal A. (2012). "Genomes-based phylogeny of the genus Xanthomonas". BMC Microbiology 12: 43. 
  11. ^ a b c Schaad, N.W., Jones, J.B., Chun, W. (2001). Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria 3rd Ed. pp. 175–199. 
  12. ^ Boch J, Bonas U (September 2010). "XanthomonasAvrBs3 Family-Type III Effectors: Discovery and Function". Annual Review of Phytopathology 48: 419–36. doi:10.1146/annurev-phyto-080508-081936. PMID 19400638. 
  13. ^ a b Ritchie, D.F (2000). "Bacterial spot of pepper and tomato". The Plant Health Instructor. doi:10.1094/PHI-I-2000-1027-01. 
  14. ^ Mew, T.W., Alvarez, A.M., Leach, J.E., and Swings, J. (1993). "Focus on bacterial blight of rice". Plant Disease 77: 5–13. 
  15. ^ Ellis, S.D., Boehm, M.J., and Coplin, D. (2008). "Bacterial Diseases of Plants". Ohio State University Fact Sheet. 
  16. ^ The Xanthomonas Resource 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthomonas — Please support Wikipedia.
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