Huanglongbing is one of the most severe diseases of citrus worldwide and is associated with ‘ (.) Liberibacter africanus’ in Africa, ‘. Liberibacter asiaticus’ in Asia and the Americas (Brazil, USA and Cuba) and ‘. Liberibacter americanus’ (Lam) in Brazil. In the absence of axenic cultures, genetic information on liberibacters is scarce. The sequences of the entire 23S rRNA and 5S rRNA genes from Lam have now been obtained, using a consensus primer designed on known tRNA sequences of rhizobia. The size of the Lam genome was determined by PFGE, using Lam-infected periwinkle plants for bacterial enrichment, and was found to be close to 1.31 Mbp. In order to determine the number of ribosomal operons on the Lam genome, probes designed to detect the 16S rRNA gene and the 3′ end of the 23S rRNA gene were developed and used for Southern hybridization with I-I-treated genomic DNA. Our results suggest that there are three ribosomal operons in a circular genome. Lam is the first liberibacter species for which such data are available.


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