Screening and identification of Cucurbita germplasm resistant to Xanthomonas cucurbitae, incitant of cucurbit bacterial spot

Salisu Sulley, Yali Huang, Sarah R. Hind, Mohammed Babadoost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bacterial spot of cucurbits, caused by Xanthomonas cucurbitae, is an emerging disease of cucurbits. This study was conducted to identify Cucurbita species that are resistant to X. cucurbitae. We developed a reliable method for inoculating cucurbit plants by spraying plants with X. cucurbitae suspensions containing carborundum. Symptoms of the disease developed within 7 days after inoculation. Subsequently, we evaluated the virulence of six isolates of X. cucurbitae in the greenhouse and observed that X. cucurbitae isolated from cucurbit fields in Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin were more virulent than the reference ATCC 23378 strain. Then, we screened 81 commercial cultivars of gourds, pumpkins, and squashes, as well as 300 Cucurbita spp. accessions, for their resistance to X. cucurbitae under greenhouse and field conditions. In the greenhouse study, all commercial cultivars and some of the accessions developed typical symptoms of bacterial spot disease, while some of the accessions developed fewer lesions. In the field studies, infection of leaves and fruits was caused by both natural inoculum and spray-inoculation of plants with a suspension of the X. cucurbitae isolate from Illinois. Among 300 accessions tested, 9 and 21 accessions were classified as resistant and less resistant, respectively. Resistant and less resistant accessions belong to the species Cucurbita maxima, C. maxima subsp. maxima, C. maxima subsp. andreana, and C. okeechobeensis subsp. martinezii. This is the first report of potential resistance to bacterial spot of cucurbits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2188-2196
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Pathology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • accession
  • bacterial spot
  • Cucurbita
  • cucurbits
  • resistance
  • Xanthomas cucurbitae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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