Innovative test system for Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. poinsettiicola

In cooperation with Selecta Klemm GmbH & Co. KG, IDENTXX GmbH has developed a secure and fast system to detect pathogens that cause bacterial leaf spots on Poinsettia.

The test system, developed by IDENTXX GmbH, allows PCR-based detection of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. poinsettiicola (XAP) within five days, inclusive genomic characterizations of most frequent strains. Since XAP first appeared in Europe (Germany and Italy) in 2003, breeding and producing companies have desperately sought a suitable system to detect the pathogen in large stocks. In the past, test systems were only able to detect infected plants, at best, 14 days after infection and were not useful for broad screening.

Selecta Klemm GmbH & Co.KG (Selecta) became aware of IDENTXX’s pre-developed high quality XAP-test system in 2009. Shortly after, IDENTXX and Selecta developed the existing system further as a secure tool for analyzing large stocks of Poinsettia mother plants.

Approximately 12,000 Poinsettia mother plants were analyzed by IDENTXX for routine testing in 2010/2011 with all conducted tests confirming the whole mother plant stock of Selecta to be totally free of XAP. The performed analyses essentially contributed to product assurance at Selecta and became an important part of Selecta’s „Clean Plant Guarantee“-label that was implemented in 2011.

The cooperation of two innovative companies has increased product and quality assurance of the whole Poinsettia production thus contributing to the quality assurance of the whole green sector.

  • The test system: Ten mother plants can be analyzed at once for XAP infection due to the PCR-based test system. The high throughput and reproducibility make the system a useful tool for mass screening of visually symptomless plants. The system is supplemented by microbiological analyses within Selecta-diagnosis laboratories.

  • The pathogen: Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. poinsettiicola (XAP) causes bacterial leaf spots on Poinsettias that can eventually lead to crop losses that threaten the existence of Poinsettia breeding production companies. The disease is so threatening that the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) added XAP on the EPPO A2 Quarantine-list in 2008. By doing this, they recommend the European Commission to classify XAP as a quarantine disease. This would lead to far-reaching consequences for the entire sector.

  • Press release in PDF format