Former Graduate Assistant
Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1312
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint 48502
Visiting Research Associate
Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1312
Symptomless greenhouse tomato transplants may harbor high populations of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis, the causal agent of bacterial canker, leading to yield loss in the field. The objective of this study was to determine whether resistant cultivars, acibenzolar-S-methyl, avirulent strains of C. michiganensis subsp. michiganensis, or standard bactericides reduce pathogen populations and spread among greenhouse tomato seedlings. All treatments limited pathogen populations compared with the untreated inoculated susceptible cultivar in 1996 and 1998, but not in 1997. In 1996, copper hydroxide alone or mixed with mancozeb or streptomycin limited pathogen populations relative to acibenzolar-S-methyl, acibenzolar-S-methyl mixed with copper hydroxide, and avirulent strains. Copper hydroxide mixed with streptomycin limited pathogen populations compared with copper hydroxide mixed with mancozeb. Adding copper hydroxide to acibenzolar-S-methyl limited pathogen populations compared with acibenzolar-S-methyl alone. In 1998, treatments did not differ significantly from each other in limiting pathogen populations. The treatments limited spread of the bacterium only in 1997. Copper hydroxide mixed with mancozeb limited spread compared with copper hydroxide mixed with streptomycin. Pathogen spread was also reduced among resistant cultivars compared with the susceptible cultivar treated with streptomycin. In the field, the untreated inoculated susceptible cultivar produced yields that were 61% (1996) and 93% (1997) of those produced by the uninoculated susceptible cultivar. Fruit spotting occurred regardless of treatment. To prevent severe bacterial canker disease in the field, growers should initiate and sustain bactericide applications to tomato transplants while in the greenhouse to suppress pathogen populations. Cultivar resistance and acibenzolar-S-methyl may be helpful in disease management of bacterial canker on tomato.