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Screening of novel materials for the control of fire blight in Canadian orchards

Project Code: SCR07-020

Project Lead

Antonet Svircev - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


To assess the efficacy of a number of reduced-risk pest control products for their potential use against fire blight in three Canadian apple growing regions: Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia

Summary of Results

Fire blight is a devastating disease of apples and pears in Canada and is caused by the pathogen Erwinia amylovora, a bacterium capable of destroying entire trees and orchards in a very short timeframe. The registered fire blight control product is the antibiotic streptomycin, however pathogen isolates resistant to streptomycin have been reported in North America. No other products are available which provide curative control of the disease, although some new biopesticides have recently been registered for preventative use and/or disease suppression.

This project tested a number of reduced risk pest control products and application procedures for their efficacy against fire blight in orchards in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. The goal was to identify candidate control products and application procedures for possible registration in Canada.

Seven products used alone or in combination were tested in the field trails. The results from the first year of screening in three provinces were extremely variable.

Data from the 2007 growing season (for Ontario and British Columbia) indicated that Actiguard performed well in control of fire blight during bloom time. Ontario and Quebec trials indicated that Gentamycin and Kasumin performed well in the field trials. For the pesticide mixes, Serenade & Streptomycin performed well in British Columbia. For the province of Quebec, any mixture that contained an antibiotic gave a good control of fire blight.

From the results of this one year screening trial it seems that Actiguard consistently performed well. Kasumin and Gentamycin are two other products that looked promising. In the future, other tests will be necessary to confirm the accuracy of those results and to make sure the products are effective in all 3 provinces. Thereafter, the pesticides that showed promising control of fire blight will undergo further testing under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Minor Use Pesticides for potential registration in Canada.

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