University of California

Biology and control of Agrobacterium tumefaciens


M. N. Schroth
A. R. Weinhold
A. H. McCain
D. C. Hildebrand
N. Ross

Authors Affiliations

M. N. Schroth was Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Berkeley; A. R. Weinhold was Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Berkeley; A. H. McCain was Extension Plant Pathologist, Berkeley; D. C. Hildebrand was Associate Research Plant Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, Berkeley; N. Ross was Farm Advisor, Stanislaus County, California.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 40(15):537-552. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v40n15p537. March 1971.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


This paper presents recent information on the biology of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and outlines techniques for isolating and studying the bacterium. Data are presented indicating that A. tumefaciens is a soil inhabitant. The organism was isolated in 18 of 28 California soils, including soils not known to support host plants, and appears to be a rhizosphere organism. In vitro experiments showed that the bacterial cells aggregated around roots of various plants.

A. tumefaciens and A. radiobacter were studied for serological and physiological differences. Although no physiological differences were detected, most A. tumefaciens strains differed serologically from A. radiobacter in possessing an antigen which formed a precipitin line near the antigen well in gel-diffusion tests. The last part of the paper discusses how the disease is contracted and presents techniques for reducing loss from crown gall.

Literature Cited

Ark P. A., Scott C. E. Elimination of crown gall: treating small galls on young trees with elgetol-methanol mixture assures control in almond, peach, walnut orchard. Calif. Agr. 1951. 5(7):3

Ark P. A., Sibray W. S. Efforts to control crown gall of roses with antibiotics, Plant Disease Reptr. 1957. 41:449-51.

Ark P. A., Schroth M. N. Use of slices of carrot and other fleshy roots to detect crown gall bacteria in soil. Plant Disease Reptr. 1958. 42:1279-81.

Bernaerts M., De Ley J. A biochemical test for crown gall bacteria. Nature. 1963. 197:406-07. DOI: 10.1038/197406b0 [CrossRef]

Deep I. W., McNeilan R. A., MacSwan I. C. Soil fumigants tested for control of crown gall. Plant Disease Reptr. 1968. 52:102-05.

De Ley J. DNA base composition and hybridization in the taxonomy of phytopathogenic bacteria. Ann. Rev. Phytopath. 1968. 6:63-90. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.py.06.090168.000431 [CrossRef]

Démétriadès S. Action du bleu d’aniline et du rouge de chlorophénol sur la formation et la croissance des tumeurs de crown-gall. Compt. Rend. Séances Soc. Biol. Paris. 1953. 147:280-82.

Dickey R. S. Relation of some edaphic factors to Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Phytopathology. 1961. 51:607-14.

Dickey R. S. Efficacy of five fumigants for the control of Agrobacterium tumefaciens at various depths in the soil. Plant Disease Reptr. 1962. 46:73-76.

Dye D. W. The effects of chemicals and antibiotic substances on crown-gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens [Smith and Townsend] Conn.) Part IV. New Zealand J. Sci. and Tech. 1952. 33:104-08.

Dye D. W., Hutchinson P. B., Hastings A. Effect of chemicals and antibiotic substances on crown-gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens [Smith and Townsend] Conn.) Part I. Colchicine and penicillin. New Zealand J. Sci. and Tech. 1950. 31:31-39.

Fåhraeus G. The infection of clover root hairs by nodule bacteria studied by a simple glass slide technique. J. Gen. Microbiol. 1957. 16:374-81. DOI: 10.1099/00221287-16-2-374 [CrossRef]

Graham P. H. Antigenic affinities of the root-nodule bacteria of legumes. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. 1963. 29:281-91. DOI: 10.1007/BF02046070 [CrossRef]

Graham P. H., Parker C. A. Diagnostic features in the characterization of the root-nodule bacteria of legumes. Plant and Soil. 1964. 20:383-96. DOI: 10.1007/BF01373828 [CrossRef]

Hildebrand E. M. On the longevity of the crown gall organism in soil. Plant Disease Reptr. 1941. 25:200-02.

Hochster R. M., Cole S. E. Serological comparisons between strains of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Can. J. Microbiol. 1967. 13:569-72. DOI: 10.1139/m67-073 [CrossRef]

Hugh R., Leifson E. The taxonomic significance of fermentative versus oxidative metabolism of carbohydrates by various gram negative bacteria. J. Bacteriol. 1953. 66:24-26.

Kabat E. A., Mayer M. M. Experimental immunochemistry. 1961. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 905p.

Kerr A. Crown gall on strone fruit. I. Isolation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens and related species. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 1969. 22:111-16.

Munnecke D. E., Ferguson J. Effect of soil fungicides upon soil-borne plant pathogenic bacteria and soil nitrogen. Plant Disease Reptr. 1960. 44:552-55.

Munnecke D. E., Chandler P. A., Starr M. P. Hairy root (Agrobacterium rhizogenes) of field roses. Phytopathology. 1963. 53:788-99.

Ouchterlony O. Diffusion-in-gel methods for immunological analysis. Progr. Allergy. 1958. 5:1-78.

Patel M. K. An improved method of isolating Pseudomonas tumefaciens Sm. and Town. Phytopathology. 1926. 16:577

Phillips T. Alleged remedy for root rot. Calif. Fruit Grower. 1895. 16:134

Ross N., Schroth M. N., Sanborn R., O’Reilly H. J., Thompson J. P. Reducing loss from crown gall disease. Calif. Agric. Expt. Sta. Bul. 1970. 845:1-10. http://archive.org/details/reducinglossfrom0845ross

Schnathorst W. C., De Vay J. E., Kosuge T. Virulence in Agrobacterium tumefaciens in relation to glycine attenuation, host, temperature, bacteriophage, and antigenicity of pathogen and host 1964. pp.30-32. J. E. De Vay and E. E. Wilson [ed.] Proc., Conf. on Abnormal Growth in Plants. Cancer Research Coordinating Committee, Univ. California, Berkeley.

Schroth M. N., Thompson J. P., Hildebrand D. C. Isolation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens-A. radiobacter group from soil. Phytopathology. 1965. 55:645-47.

Schroth M. N., Ting W-P. Attraction of Agrobacterium spp. to roots. Phytopathology. 1966. 56:899-900.

Schroth M. N., Hildebrand D. C. A chemotherapeutic treatment for selectively eradicating crown gall and olive knot neoplasms. Phytopathology. 1968. 58:848-54.

Society of American Bacteriologists. Manual of microbiological methods. 1957. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc. 315p.

Sorauer P. Agrobacterium tumifaciens. Handbuch der Pflanzenkrankheiten. 1956. 2:167-215.

Stanier R. Y., Palleroni N. J., Doudoroff M. The aerobic pseudomonads: a taxonomic study. J. Gen. Microbiol. 1966. 43:159-71. DOI: 10.1099/00221287-43-2-159 [CrossRef]

Stapp C. Bacterial plant pathogens. 1958. London: Oxford Univ. Press. 292p.

Starr M. P. The nutrition of phytopathogenic bacteria II. The genus Agrobacterium. J. Bacteriol. 1946. 52:187-94.

Thornton H. G. The action of sodium nitrate upon the infection of lucerne root hairs by nodule bacteria. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 1936. 119:479 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1936.0017 [CrossRef]

University of California Plant Pathology Statewide Conference on Plant Disease Losses Committee. J. M. Ogawa, Chairman. Estimates of crop losses and disease-control costs in California, 1963. Univ. Calif. Agr. Expt. Sta. and Agr. Ext. Serv. 1965. p.102. pp. (multilith)

Schroth M, Weinhold A, McCain A, Hildebrand D, Ross N. 1971. Biology and control of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Hilgardia 40(15):537-552. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v40n15p537
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu