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Biological Control of Bacterial Speck of Tomato Under Field Conditions at Several Locations in North America

December 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  12
Pages  1,284 - 1,292

M. Wilson , H. L. Campbell , P. Ji , J. B. Jones , and D. A. Cuppels

First author: Biology Department, The Colorado College, Colorado Springs 80903; second and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Entomology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849; fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611; and fifth author: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre, London, Ontario N5V 4T3, Canada

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Accepted for publication 24 July 2002.

Bacterial speck of tomato, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, continues to be a problem for tomato growers worldwide. A collection of nonpathogenic bacteria from tomato leaves plus P. syringae strains TLP2 and Cit7, P. fluorescens strain A506, and P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 hrp mutants were examined in a greenhouse bioassay for the ability to reduce foliar bacterial speck disease severity. While several of these strains significantly reduced disease severity, P. syringae Cit7 was the most effective, providing a mean level of disease reduction of 78% under greenhouse conditions. The P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 hrpA, hrpH, and hrpS mutants also significantly reduced speck severity under greenhouse conditions. The strains with the greatest efficacy under greenhouse conditions were tested for the ability to reduce bacterial speck under field conditions at locations in Alabama, Florida, and Ontario, Canada. P. syringae Cit7 was the most effective strain, providing a mean level of disease reduction of 28% over 10 different field experiments. P. fluorescens A506, which is commercially available as Blight-Ban A506, provided a mean level of disease reduction of 18% over nine different field experiments. While neither P. syringae Cit7 nor P. fluorescens A506 can be integrated with copper bactericides due to their copper sensitivity, there exist some potential for integrating these biological control agents with “plant activators”, including Actigard. Of the P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000 hrp mutants tested, only the hrpS mutant reduced speck severity significantly under field conditions.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society