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Environmental Control in Tea Fields to Reduce Infection by Pseudomonas syringae pv. theae

February 2009 , Volume 99 , Number  2
Pages  209 - 216

T. Tomihama, T. Nonaka, Y. Nishi, and K. Arai

First, second, and third authors: Tea Research Division, Kagoshima Prefectural Institute for Agricultural Development, 3964 Nagasato, Chiran-cho, Minamikyushu-shi, Kagoshima, 897-0302, Japan; and fourth author: University of Kagoshima, 1-21-24, Korimoto, Kagoshima-shi, 890-0065, Japan.

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Accepted for publication 16 October 2008.

Bacterial shoot blight (BSB) disease, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. theae, is a major bacterial disease of tea plants in Japan. BSB mainly occurs in the low-temperature season, and lesion formation by P. syringae pv. theae is enhanced by both low temperature and the presence of ice nucleation-active Xanthomonas campestris (INAX), which catalyzes ice formation at --2 to --4°C and is frequently co-isolated with P. syringae pv. theae from tea plants. Low temperature is thus the most important environmental factor influencing the incidence of BSB; however, the effects of low temperature on infection of the host by P. syringae pv. theae and of environmental controls in fields on the occurrence of the disease are poorly understood. In this study, we show that ice formation on tea leaves by INAX enhanced P. syringae pv. theae invasion into leaf tissue. The natural incidence of BSB in the field was closely related to early autumn frost. Frost protection in late autumn, which prevented ice formation on tea plants, significantly decreased the incidence of BSB, and frost protection combined with bactericide application held the incidence under the economic threshold level. Our data indicate that environmental control in the field based on microbial interactions in the host offers a new strategy for plant disease control.

Additional keywords:disease triangle, frost-protective fan.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society