Significant Effects Due to Peptone in Kelman Medium on Colony Characteristics and Virulence of Ralstonia solanacearum in Tomato

Pious Thomas*, Reshmi Upreti
Division of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessarghatta Lake, Bangalore, India–560 089

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© Thomas and Upreti; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessarghatta Lake, Bangalore, India-560 089; Tel: 91-80-28466420 (4 lines) Ext.410; Mob: 91-9480514820; Fax: 91-80-28466291; E-mail:;


The study was taken up to assess if the media constituents played any role in governing the variable colony characteristics or pathogenicity of the bacterial wilt pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum cultured on the widely employed Kelman medium. The effects due to the constituents 2,3,5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC), peptone, casein hydrolysate and glucose on colony characteristics were investigated using -80°C stored culture of strain ‘NH-Av01’ (race 1, biovar 3) isolated from tomato. Comparing the pigment inducing TTC from two brands, its source or mode of storage/incorporation did not impart any significant effects. The source of peptone, on the other hand, displayed striking effects on the extent of colony growth, fluidity and red pigmentation depending on type, brand or batch / lot of manufacture as documented with 20 different formulations. Significant differences in the pathogenicity of isolate derived from different peptone sources in seedling-challenge assay on tomato were observed. The observations on peptone effects were endorsed with four other isolates belonging to distinct geographic locations, crops (eggplant, chilli, ginger) or races (race 1 or 4). The peptone source did not influence the pathogen-responses in biovar tests but notably altered the pattern of lawn formation and inhibition zone development during antagonistic assays. Casein hydrolysate displayed some variable effects while glucose source had no effect. This study brings to light the significant modifying effects by the peptone-constituent in Kelman medium on the physiology of R. solanacearum and the virulence of isolate and the need to consider the source of media components during culture maintenance, host-pathogen interaction studies or microbe-microbe interaction investigations.

Keywords: Antagonistic assays, bacterial wilt, microbe-microbe interactions, microbial physiology, plant-microbe interactions, Ralstonia solanacearum, Solanum lycopersicum, triphenyl tetrazolium chloride.