, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 141–152 | Cite as

Emission of volatile compounds by Erwinia amylovora: biological activity in vitro and possible exploitation for bacterial identification

  • Francesco SpinelliEmail author
  • Antonio Cellini
  • Joel L. Vanneste
  • Maria T. Rodriguez-Estrada
  • Guglielmo Costa
  • Stefano Savioli
  • Frans J. M. Harren
  • Simona M. Cristescu
Original Paper


Several analytical techniques such as gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry and laser photoacoustic detection, were used to characterize the volatiles emitted by Erwinia amylovora and other plant-pathogenic bacteria. Diverse volatiles were found to be emitted by the different bacterial species examined. The distinct blend of volatiles produced by bacteria allowed their identification using an electronic nose (e-nose). The present study reports the discrimination of E. amylovora, the fire blight pathogen, from other plant-associated bacteria using an e-nose based on metal oxide semiconductor sensors. Two different approaches were used for bacterial identification. The first one was the direct comparison of the odorous profiles of unknown bacterial isolates with four selected reference species. The second approach was the use of previously developed databases representing the odorous variability among several bacterial species. Using these two strategies, the e-nose successfully identified the isolates in 87.5 and 62.5% of the cases, respectively. Finally, the profiling of the volatiles emitted by E. amylovora lead to identify some metabolic markers with a potential biological activity in vitro.


Fire blight VOCs Erwinia amylovora 2,3-Butanediol Electronic nose Plant growth promotion 



The authors gratefully thank Elena Rondelli, Deirdre Cornish and Janet Yu for their active participation to the research and for their excellent work. The project was partially funded by Q-Detect: FP7-KBBE Project “Developing quarantine pest detection methods for use by national plant protection organizations (NPPO) and inspection services”. We also thank the COST-Action 864: PomeFruitHealth for coordinating the European research groups on fire blight and proving the opportunity of research exchanges and collaborations.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Spinelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio Cellini
    • 1
  • Joel L. Vanneste
    • 2
  • Maria T. Rodriguez-Estrada
    • 3
  • Guglielmo Costa
    • 1
  • Stefano Savioli
    • 3
  • Frans J. M. Harren
    • 4
  • Simona M. Cristescu
    • 4
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Colture ArboreeUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd., Ruakura Research CentreHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze degli AlimentiUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Radboud University, Life Science Trace Gas FacilityNijmegenThe Netherlands

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