We have made a comparison of (a) different surface chemistries of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor chips (such as carboxymethylated dextran and carboxymethylated C1) and (b) of different assay formats (direct, sandwich and subtractive immunoassay) in order to improve the sensitivity of the determination of the model bacteria Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli (Aac). The use of the carboxymethylated sensor chip C1 resulted in a better sensitivity than that of carboxymethylated dextran CM5 in all the assay formats. The direct assay format, in turn, exhibits the best sensitivity. Thus, the combination of a carboxymethylated sensor chip C1 with the direct assay format resulted in the highest sensitivity for Aac, with a limit of detection of 1.6x106 CFU mL-1. This SPR immunosensor was applied to the detection of Aac in watermelon leaf extracts spiked with the bacteria, and the lower LOD is 2.2x107 CFU mL-1.