New bacterial leaf disease ‘Bacterial Stripe’ of corn identified in Illinois

By Stephanie Henry
U of I News Bureau

URBANA – Symptomatic corn leaf samples from Champaign County in Illinois have been confirmed positive for the bacterium Burkholderia andropogonis (Pseudomonas adropogonis (Smith) Stapp.), the causal agent of Bacterial Stripe disease.

The samples were confirmed for the bacterium by the University of Illinois Plant Clinic.

Suzanne Bissonnette, director of the U of I Plant clinic, said the results have been reported to the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the USDA. The pathogen was identified by symptomology, bacterial colony characteristics, and 16S DNA sequencing, she explained.

“Bacterial stripe foliar symptoms unfortunately are similar to other endemic bacterial leaf pathogens of corn, such as Goss’s Wilt and Stewart’s Wilt,” Bissonnette said. “Lesions appear initially as lime-green to yellow diffused discoloration running parallel with leaf veins. As the lesion matures, brown necrotic streaking is evident in the center of the lesion. Lesions may be 2 to 5 inches or more in length.”

Bissonnette added that this is a new disease to corn in Illinois. “There is little current or historical information available on impact to corn yields by this pathogen in the United States,” she said.

The bacterium is widely prevalent and infects a large number of plants, including Johnson grass, sorghum, rye, and clover. Bissonnette explained that it is reported that the disease becomes more severe during periods of wet humid weather.

“Vidaver and Carlson of the University of Nebraska reported in 1978 that the disease was observed in 1973 through 1975 in South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Michigan,” she said. “Conclusions were that the disease caused no economic impact at the time.”

Bissonnette cautioned that growers should be on the outlook for this disease in corn next season. “Be aware that symptoms of this disease may be confused with other bacterial leaf blights so lab testing may be necessary to differentiate,” she said.

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