July 2008 Committee Report to the ISPP Executive
on the Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (CTPPB)
(Convener), S.H. De Boer, T.P. Denny, G. Firrao, M. Fischer-Le Saux, G.S.
Saddler, M. Scortichini, D.E. Stead, Y. Takikawa
Young officially retired from the Committee and as Convener in July
of 2006, but graciously continued working with the committee until June
2008. John astutely led the committee for nearly 30 years.
The Committee last formally met at
the 11th International Conference on Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, Edinburgh,
Scotland, UK, 10-14 July 2006. The
minutes for that meeting are available on the CTPPB website.
The following actions were
initiated and/or completed since 2006:
The Committee along with the help of Dr. Peter Williamson has
up-dated the CTPPB website (http://www.isppweb.org/about_tppb.asp).
The website was restructured to make it more navigable. The
difficulties experienced in 2006 with up-dating the website no longer
exist. The website continues to house the International Standards for
Naming Pathovars, the List of Names of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria
1864-1996, and updates of names after 2000. We developed several new
features for the website including:
An online submission form for notifying
the CTPPB Convener of new names that have been effectively for inclusion
in the Lists of Names of Bacterial Plant Pathogens (see “Submit a New
Name” link at http://www.isppweb.org/about_tppb.asp)
Committee business (agendas and minutes
from meetings, a history of the committee, current committee activities)
A news section on the homepage of the
The manuscript Demystifying
the Nomenclature of Bacterial Plant Pathogens
is being written by the committee based on the poster presented by the
committee in 2006 at Edinburgh,
Scotland. The need for a
manuscript to help plant pathologists understand the Code and the
Standards and their application was identified by attendees at the meeting in
Charlottetown PEI, Canada. It
is the intent of the CTPPB to submit the manuscript to Plant Pathology
by the end of August 2008.
The document, Names of Plant
Pathogenic Bacteria through 2006, will be posted to the CTPPB
eminently. However, the committee is in discussion about the
format for future Lists of Names of Plant
Pathogenic Bacteria. Currently the lists are only being posted to the
ISPP-CTPPB website. However, previous editions of the lists were
published in citable journals. Because web addresses are transient
many journals do not allow citations of web addresses and the
documents are at risk of being lost. Thus, the current lists do not
meet all the documentation criteria of the scientific community.
The committee is discussing the possibility of publishing the annual
list in citable journals or having DOI assigned to the documents.
No descision has been made and the comprehensive 2006 up-date
is to be posted directly to the web.
A discussion forum was initiated on the ISPP website in 2000,
but was removed in 2008 due to inactivity.
The committee remains reactive in that we responded to
inquiries and commented on proposals for their adherence to the
Standards or in situations when nomenclatural proposals were viewed as
unhelpful to the taxonomy of plant pathogens.
There is ongoing confusion about the meaning of “type
strain.” The committee needs to decide if it would like to address
We have identified that the lack of formal coordination between
the Code and the Standards has led to proposals that are not
consistent with the intent of scientific nomenclature and hinders
communication about plant pathogenic bacteria. The committee needs to
decide what action it will take to remedy this situation.
needs to determine if the List of Illegitimate Names should be
The committee has discussed making a listing of groups of plant
pathogenic bacteria that need significant taxonomic work.
Work on the structure of the committee was
initiated in 2000 and advanced in 2006.
Our goal was to develop a Constitution for the CTPPB. Although
not a requirement for ISPP Subject Matter Committees, we feel that
some guiding framework should be developed. Work on this document was
essentially on hold due to our more pressing work on a manuscript and
New Names document. However,
it is still the intent of the committee to develop the document.
The committee identified a need to better
publicize our existence and function.
Upon publication of the Names of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria
through 2006, the convener will work with the committee to advertise
the new list to relevant groups of plant pathologists and journal
editors as well as to advertise the new submission form for inclusion
of recently published new names.
Carolee T. Bull (Convener),
of Agriculture, 1636 E Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93905, USA; e-mail: