J. E. Adaskaveg, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside 92521;
H. Förster, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616; and
M. L. Wade, Arysta LifeScience, Roseville, CA 95678
Comparative field studies on the management of fire blight were conducted in California on Asian and Bartlett pear using single-bactericide, mixture, and rotation treatments of selected compounds. Treatment efficacy was evaluated based on the natural occurrence of the disease or after inoculation with Erwinia amylovora. Kasugamycin at 100 mg/liter demonstrated similar or higher pre- and post-infection activity than the industry standards, streptomycin and oxytetracycline. Phytotoxicity caused by kasugamycin was observed only when five or six sequential weekly applications were done. In a six-spray rotation program including three bactericides (copper, kasugamycin, and oxytetracycline), with each being used twice, phytotoxicity was minor. Baseline sensitivity concentrations for kasugamycin were established for growth of 376 isolates of E. amylovora from California. Values for the lowest concentration where a reduction in growth on nutrient agar was observed ranged from 3.5 to 18.3 mg/liter, with a mean value of 8.7 mg/liter. Values for ≥95% inhibition of growth ranged from 6.9 to 46.7 mg/liter, with a mean value of 18.5 mg/liter. These inhibitory values for kasugamycin were higher than those for streptomycin or oxytetracycline. The in vitro activity of all three compounds was highly dependent on the agar medium used in the sensitivity assay. The activity of kasugamycin was also highly dependent on the pH of the medium and was significantly higher at pH 5.1 than pH 7.3. With the planned registration in the United States, kasugamycin represents the first new, highly effective bactericide for managing fire blight in over 40 years.