Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 609–613 | Cite as

Pantoea dispersa causing bulb decay of onion in Taiwan

  • Chun-Pi Chang
  • I-Hsin Sung
  • Chien-Jui HuangEmail author
Original Paper


Onion (Allium cepa L.) bulbs showing symptoms similar to those caused by slippery skin disease were sampled during a market survey in Chiayi city, Taiwan during 2017–2018. Interestingly, a bacterium which phenotypically differed from Burkholderia was isolated along with the slippery skin pathogen from the rotted scales. The purified isolates were initially identified as Pantoea dispersa by the phenotypic and biochemical characterization. Further molecular identification based on the 16S rDNA sequence analysis and multilocus sequence analysis with the atpD, gyrB, and infB sequences confirmed that the isolates are P. dispersa. For pathogenicity assay, surface-sterilized onion bulbs were injected with the isolates, and P. dispersa type strain LMG 2603T was included as a reference strain. Upon artificial inoculation of onion bulbs, all P. dispersa isolates and the strain LMG 2603T induced decays of the internal fleshy scales and yellow to tan discoloration similar to those caused by onion pathogenic Pantoea spp. The same bacterium was consistently re-isolated from the artificially inoculated onion bulbs, fulfilling Koch’s postulates. Moreover, a single injection of a P. dispersa suspension at a concentration of 1 × 104 CFU/mL was sufficient to cause disease. Accordingly, this study indicates, for the first time, that P. dispersa is an onion pathogen causing bulb decay in Taiwan.


Pantoea dispersa Allium cepa Multilocus sequence analysis 



This work was financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST, grant number 106-2311-B-415-001), Taiwan, R.O.C.

Authors’ contributions

C.J.H. conceived and designed this study. C.P.C. carried out most of the experiments. C.J.H analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. I.H.S. helped statistical analysis and revised the manuscript critically. All authors have approved the final version of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

The authors declare that no human participants and animals were involved in this study.

Informed consent

This manuscript is new and not being considered elsewhere. All authors have approved the submission of this manuscript.


  1. Brady C, Cleenwerck I, Venter S, Vancanneyt M, Swings J, Coutinho T (2008) Phylogeny and identification of Pantoea species associated with plants, humans and the natural environment based on multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA). Syst Appl Microbiol 31:447–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brady CL, Goszczynska T, Venter SN, Cleenwerck I, De Vos P, Gitaitis RD, Coutinho TA (2011) Pantoea allii sp. nov., isolated from onion plants and seed. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 61:932–937CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Currah L, Proctor FJ (1990) Onions in tropical regions. vol 35. Natural Resources Institute, Kent, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Gavini F, Mergaert J, Beji A, Mielcarek C, Izard D, Kersters K, De Ley J (1989) Transfer of Enterobacter agglomerans (Beijerinck 1888) Ewing and fife 1972 to Pantoea gen. Nov. as Pantoea agglomerans comb. nov. and description of Pantoea dispersa sp. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 39:337–345Google Scholar
  5. Gitaitis RD, Gay JD (1997) First report of a leaf blight, seed stalk rot, and bulb decay of onion by Pantoea ananas in Georgia. Plant Dis 81:1096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Green MR, Sambrook J (2012) Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual. 4 edn. Cold Spring Harbor laboratory press. In: Cold Spring Harbor. U.S.A, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Hattingh MJ, Walters DF (1981) Stalk and leaf necrosis of onion caused by Erwinia herbicola. Plant Dis 65:615–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Huang CJ, Lin CH (2017) First report of Pseudomonas aeruginosa causing internal brown rot of stored onion bulbs in Taiwan. J Plant Pathol 99:817Google Scholar
  9. Ko SS, Chang WN, Wang JF, Cherng SJ, Shanmugasundaram S (2002) Storage variability among short-day onion cultivars under high temperature and high relative humidity, and its relationship with disease incidence and bulb characteristics. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 127:848–854Google Scholar
  10. Kumar S, Stecher G, Tamura K (2016) MEGA7: molecular evolutionary genetic analysis version 7.0 for bigger datasets. Mol Biol Evol 33:1870–1874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lee YA, Chan CW, Chao CP (2006) Physiological and molecular characterization of banana finger-tip rot and onion decay pathogens in Taiwan. Plant Pathol Bull 15:117–124Google Scholar
  12. Musa SK, Habish HA, Abdalla AA, Adlan BB (1973) Problems of onion storage in the Sudan. Trop Sci 15:319–327Google Scholar
  13. Schroeder BK, Waters TD, du Toit LJ (2010) Evaluation of onion cultivars for resistance to Enterobacter cloacae in storage. Plant Dis 94:236–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schroeder BK, Humann JL, Du Toit LJ (2012) Effects of postharvest onion curing parameters on the development of sour skin and slippery skin in storage. Plant Dis 96:1548–1555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schwartz HF, Mohan KS (2008) Compendium of onion and garlic diseases and pests. 2 edn. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, USAGoogle Scholar
  16. Vahling-Armstrong C, Dung JKS, Humann JL, Schroeder BK (2016) Effects of postharvest onion curing parameters on bulb rot caused by Pantoea agglomerans, Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea allii in storage. Plant Pathol 65:536–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Weisburg WG, Barns SM, Pelletier DA, Lane DJ (1991) 16S ribosomal DNA amplification for phylogenetic study. J Bacteriol 173:697–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zaid AM, Bonasera JM, Beer SV (2012) OEM - a new medium for rapid isolation of onion-pathogenic and onion-associated bacteria. J Microbiol Methods 91:520–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant MedicineNational Chiayi UniversityChiayi CityRepublic of China

Personalised recommendations