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Novel species of pathogenic bacteria of onion identified in Texas


by Texas A&M University
While conducting the survey of bacteria in onions, a team of Texas A&M AgriLife researchers in Uvalde identified a new pathogen—a bacterial species now named for where it was found.

The work is a collaboration among scientists from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde, the University of Florida and the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Findings are published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Importance of onion pathogen identification

Onion production is a big commodity in Texas, which ranks sixth in U.S. onion production, so a new disease is a cause for concern and preparation. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in 2021 approximately 15,950 tons of onions were grown on 11,500 acres in the state, generating about $94.3 million in industry revenue and about $206.5 million in overall revenue for the state.

"This novel disease can significantly impact marketable yield and possibly incur tremendous loss to onion growers in Texas and beyond," said Subas Malla, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research assistant professor of vegetable breeding and genetics. Malla leads onion disease research efforts at the Texas A&M AgriLife center at Uvalde. "Identification is crucial to understand more about its distribution, potential disease outbreaks and possible control methods."

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