Project Number: 8080-21000-032-037-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2024
The overall objective of this project is to determine the efficacy of symbiotic Methylobacteria as an alternative to antibiotics for controlling Erwinia amylovora, the causative agent of fire blight disease, in apple production.
The apple flower microbiome will be characterized using high-throughput amplicon sequencing spanning conserved portions of microbial genomes (16s rRNA and ITS) before and after application of Methylobacteria. Methylobacteria strains will be evaluated for their ability to suppress E. amylovora in greenhouse, experimental orchard plots and/or commercial pome fruit growing systems. Greenhouse and experimental orchard plot inoculations will be performed by cutting a young leaf at the tip of the shoot with scissors dipped in Erwina amylovora at a concentration of 10-8 in PBS solution. Percent lesion length (necrosis length divided by shoot length) will be used to quantify Erwina amylovora suppression. Commercial trials would be based on comparisons with standard practices including application of pre-bloom copper and bloom-time applications.