Isolation studies reveal a shift in the cultivable microbiome of oak affected with Acute Oak Decline

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  • Sandra Denman
    Forest Research
  • Sarah Plummer
    Forest Research
  • Andrew Peace
    Craigerne Drive, Peebles, Scottish Borders
  • James McDonald
Acute Oak Decline is a syndrome within the Oak Decline complex in Britain. Profuse stem bleeding and larval galleries of the native buprestid, Agrilus biguttatus characterize the disease. A systematic study comparing healthy with diseased trees was undertaken. This work reports the result of isolations from healthy trees, diseased and non-symptomatic tissue within AOD affected trees, at five sites in England. Bacteria and fungi were identified using the DNA gyrase B gene, or ITS 1 sequencing. A significantly higher proportion of diseased tissues (82%) yielded more bacteria than either healthy (18%) or non-symptomatic tissue in diseased trees (33%). Overall bacterial community compositions varied at each site, but significant similarities were evident in diseased tissues at all sites. Enterobacteriaceae dominated in diseased trees whereas Pseudomonadaceae dominated healthy trees. Significant associations between diseased tissues and certain bacterial species occurred, implying that the cause of tissue necrosis was not due to random microbiota. Brenneria goodwinii and Gibbsiella quercinecans were key species consistently isolated from diseased tissue; Rahnella victoriana and an un-named Pseudomonas taxon were also frequently isolated from both healthy and diseased trees. Most fungi isolated were from the outer bark and had no significant association with tree health status. It was concluded that there was a shift in the cultivatable bacterial microbiome of diseased trees, with Enterobacteriaceae strongly represented in symptomatic but not healthy tissues. No single species dominated the isolations from diseased tissues and the tissue degradation in AOD is therefore likely to have a polymicrobial cause.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-490
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number7
Early online date6 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

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