• common scab;
  • pathogen diagnosis;
  • PCR;
  • potato;
  • Streptomyces spp.;
  • thaxtomin A

Field-grown potatoes showing scab infections were sampled in two successive years and analysed for prevailing Streptomyces strains. In 2008 and 2009, 293 Streptomyces isolates were collected in Germany and analysed for morphology, pathogenicity and strain type. Isolates varied in mycelium colour, sporulation and pigmentation. Based on their morphology, no clear differentiation of species was possible. At the genetic level, sampled isolates, as well as a number of type strains from culture collections, were characterized by PCR using 16S rRNA-specific primers and PCR-RFLP of the 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region with Hpy99I. Using this fingerprinting approach, Streptomyces species could be differentiated genotypically. The data from this study show that diversity among scab-causing species in Germany is much higher than previously thought. Isolates belonged to various Streptomyces spp. previously associated with common scab. This is apparently the first report of pathogenic strains of S. europaeiscabiei, S. stelliscabiei, S. acidiscabiei, S. turgidiscabiei and S. bottropensis within Germany. Streptomyces europaeiscabiei was the predominant species found. Other scab-causing species were identified, but their local distribution was uneven. For most of the isolates, the presence of the txtAB gene was demonstrated, indicating pathogenicity. This analysis is one of the first reports to examine the distribution of common scab-causing species in Germany.