Evaluation of the API 50CH and API ZYM systems for rapid characterization of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus, causal agent of potato ring rot

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API 50CH and API ZYM systems were used to characterize fifty-three strains of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus from different geographic locations and several reference strains of the same and different species, including other potato pathogens. Clavibacter michiganensissubsp. sepedonicus strains displayed a high level of homogeneity, both in carbohydrate utilization and in enzymatic activity. Using API 50CH and API ZYM it was possible to differentiate C. michiganensissubsp. sepedonicus strains from the remaining taxa analysed in this study, which included representative strains of the other subspecies of C. michiganensis as well as other bacterial pathogens affecting potatoes. Therefore, these systems could be used as an effective method to characterize C. michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus. Such a procedure would constitute an alternative system to the conventional nutritional and physiological identification tests currently included in the official methods employed in the European Union to detect and identify this bacterium. The results obtained with the API systems agreed with the current taxonomic classification of C. michiganensis, clearly separating sepedonicus from the other subspecies belonging to this species.

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