Taxonomy and identification of bacteria associated with acute oak decline

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  • Carrie Brady
    University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Dawn Arnold
    University of the West of England, Bristol
  • James McDonald
    School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University
  • Sandra Denman
    Forest Research

Acute oak decline (AOD) is a relatively newly described disorder affecting native oak species in Britain. Symptomatic trees are characterised by stem bleeds from vertical fissures, necrotic lesions in the live tissue beneath and larval galleries of the two spotted oak buprestid (Agrilus biguttatus). Several abiotic and biotic factors can be responsible for tree death, however the tissue necrosis and stem weeping is thought to be caused by a combination of bacterial species. Following investigations of the current episode of AOD which began in 2008, numerous strains belonging to several different bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae have been consistently isolated from symptomatic tissue. The majority of these enterobacteria were found to be novel species, subspecies and even genera, which have now been formally classified. The most frequently isolated species from symptomatic oak are Gibbsiella quercinecans, Brenneria goodwinii and Rahnella victoriana. Identification of these bacteria is difficult due to similarities in colony morphology, phenotypic profile and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Current identification relies heavily on gyrB gene amplification and sequencing, which is time consuming and laborious. However, newer techniques based on detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms show greater promise for rapid and reliable identification of the bacteria associated with AOD.


  • DNA Barcoding, Taxonomic, DNA, Bacterial, Enterobacteriaceae, Enterobacteriaceae Infections, Phylogeny, Plant Diseases, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Quercus, Journal Article, Review
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
Early online date16 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

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