Rathayibacter toxicus

Authored by: Ian T. Riley , Jeremy G. Allen , Martin J. Barbetti

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Rathayibacter toxicus is a Gram-positive, coryneform bacterium that infests the foliage and floral structures of grasses and is economically important because of its toxin-producing capability. The bacterium is transferred from infested soils into plants by plant-parasitic nematodes of the genus Anguina, which produce foliar or seedgalls in several species of grasses. R. toxicus can proliferate within the nematode galls, killing the nematodes and completely filling the lumen of the gall (forming a bacterial gall). Often, bacterial growth in an inflorescence is sufficient to cause oozing from the floral structures as a yellow bacterial slime (gummosis). Ingestion of the toxins (glycolipids known as corynetoxins) by grazing animals results in poisoning that is often fatal.

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