The survival in drain water of two strains of Ralstonia solanacearum and three strains of Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum, including two strains able to cause wilt in roses, was determined. Water draining from drip-irrigated rock wool mats on which roses were grown was supplemented with the pathogen and survival was monitored at 4, 12, 20 and 28°C for up to 112 days. All strains were able to survive for at least 112 days in drain water at 12 and 20°C, but at 4°C maximum survival was 56 days. At 28°C, the survival period was strain dependent, but was at least 56 days. Populations declined gradually in non-sterile drain water to a low level (maximum 100 cfu mL−1 after 112 days). In sterile drain water (autoclaved prior to addition of populations), no or only a limited decline in populations was found at 112 days, dependent on strain and temperature. Drain water that tested negative for Ralstonia in the dilution plating assay was tested for the presence of cells in a viable but non-culturable state (VBNCs). Tomato plants were inoculated, but no symptoms developed, and plants sampled 22 days post-inoculation were negative in a plating assay. Therefore, no indications were found that VBNCs were present.
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