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Control of Fire Blight by Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 and Pantoea vagans C9-1 Applied as Single Strains and Mixed Inocula

December 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  12
Pages  1,330 - 1,339

V. O. Stockwell, K. B. Johnson, D. Sugar, and J. E. Loper

First, second, and fourth authors: Oregon State University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Corvallis 97331; third author: Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University, Medford 97502; and fourth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, 3420 NW Orchard Avenue, Corvallis OR 97330.

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Accepted for publication 15 August 2010.

The biological control agents Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 and Pantoea vagans C9-1 were evaluated individually and in combination for the suppression of fire blight of pear or apple in 10 field trials inoculated with the pathogen Erwinia amylovora. The formulation of pathogen inoculum applied to blossoms influenced establishment of the pathogen and the efficacy of biological control. Pantoea vagans C9-1 suppressed fire blight in all five trials in which the pathogen was applied as lyophilized cells but in none of the trials in which the pathogen was applied as freshly harvested cells. In contrast, Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 reduced disease significantly in only one trial. A mixture of the two strains also suppressed fire blight, but the magnitude of disease suppression over all field trials (averaging 32%) was less than that attained by C9-1 alone (42%). The two biological control agents did not antagonize one another on blossom surfaces, and application of the mixture of A506 and C9-1 to blossoms resulted in a greater proportion of flowers having detectable populations of at least one bacterial antagonist than the application of individual strains. Therefore, the mixture of A506 and C9-1 provided less disease control than expected based upon the epiphytic population sizes of the antagonists on blossom surfaces. We speculate that the biocontrol mixture was less effective than anticipated due to incompatibility between the mechanisms by which A506 and C9-1 suppress disease.

Additional keywords: Biolog Phenotype Microarray, Erwinia herbicola, Malus, Pantoea agglomerans, pome fruit, Pyrus, stigma.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society