Pierce's Disease of Grapevines: Evidence for a Bacterial Etiology

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Science  28 Jun 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4144, pp. 1375-1377
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4144.1375


A Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium was isolated and grown in pure culture on artificial mediums from the leafhopper Draeculacephala minerva Ball which had fed on plants infected with Pierce's disease. The bacterial culture was injected into uncontaminated leafhoppers which were than allowed to feed on healthy grapevines. After exposure to these leafhoppers, typical symptoms of Pierce's disease developed; however, no symptoms developed on plants exposed to leafhoppers injected with sterile culture medium. The same organism was reisolated from the experimentally inoculated plants. Electron microscopic examination of these infected plants revealed bacterial cells localized in the xylem tissues. No such cells were seen in healthy or control plants.