Link to home

Cannot retrieve the URL specified in the Content Link property. For more assistance, contact your site administrator.

Effect of a contact sterilant on apple flower microbial populations and impacts on biological control of fire blight by Aureobasidium pullulans
Suzanne Slack: Michigan State University; Samantha Gebben: Michigan State University; Samantha Gebben: University of Florida; Cory Outwater: Michigan State University; Bailey Begley: Michigan State University; George Sundin: Michigan State University
<div>Due to concerns of antibiotic resistance along with increased interest in organic agriculture, there is a need for novel strategies to protect orchards from fire blight (<i>Erwinia amylovora</i>) outbreaks. Organic apple producers rely on copper and biological control agents to suppress fire blight outbreaks at bloom. In Michigan and the Eastern United States however, there has been little success historically using biological agents to manage fire blight, mainly due to humid climates that favor rapid growth and infection by <i>E. amylovora</i>. Humidity also likely increases the size and diversity of the apple flower microbial community which may hinder the effectiveness of the biological control agent due to competition. In a four-year study, we used a contact sterilant (Oxidate) to clear the apple flower niche prior to application of Blossom-Protect, a biological control agent containing<i> </i>two strains of <i>A. pullulans</i>. We also examined the efficacy of various application numbers and timings of Blossom Protect in controlling blossom blight. Cultural populations of bacteria, total fungi, and yeast were evaluated in all treatments. Although the Oxidate application did significantly reduce culturable microbial populations, increases in <i>A. pullulans</i> populations on flowers were not observed in all experiments. The Oxidate treatment also did not result in further reductions of blossom blight compared to comparable Blossom Protect treatments without Oxidate.</div>

View Presentation