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Improving the knowledge on Erwinia amylovora biology and epidemiology at local level for reducing its populations and for improving fire blight control

María M. López1 and Emilio Montesinos2

1Institut Valencià de Recerques Agràries, Montcada, València, Espanya 2Institut de Tecnologia Agroalimentària-INTEA, Escola Politècnica Superior, Universitat de Girona, Espanya

Despite more than hundred years of intensive study on fire blight disease, Erwinia amylovora attacks are still feared by pome fruit growers worldwide, although in most European and North American countries, the disease is well known and the information about its integrated control in their local conditions is available. However, the situation is quite different in Spain because the efforts since 1995 were concentrated, after the first detection, in active and rapid eradication actions taken after discovering new foci. The Spanish experience has been for many years the unique example around the world of a long term eradication of the pathogen. Unfortunately, in the last three years, the eradication has been abandoned in many areas, and several new foci have appeared every year.

Despite more than hundred years of intensive study on fire blight disease, Erwinia amylovora attacks are still feared by pome fruit growers worldwide, although in most European and North American countries, the disease is well known and the information about its integrated control in their local conditions is available. However, the situation is quite different in Spain because the efforts since 1995 were concentrated, after the first detection, in active and rapid eradication actions taken after discovering new foci. The Spanish experience has been for many years the unique example around the world of a long term eradication of the pathogen. Unfortunately, in the last three years, the eradication has been abandoned in many areas, and several new foci have appeared every year. There is now an urgent need of improving the most appropriated fire blight integrated control strategies in many Spanish regions. Although the information about successful management of fire blight is available from some countries, the implementation of such programs in a given area requires the local knowledge of the critical factors determining the fire blight development: the inoculum potential, the amount of susceptible plant material and the favourable weather conditions. Pathogen sources, cultivar sensitivity, life cycle of E. amylovora under local conditions, as well as the information from previous assays on the efficacy of different products and on their phytotoxicity should also be studied or evaluated. It is strictly necessary to know at the orchard level the type of symptoms present (blossom blight, canker blight, shoot blight, trauma blight, rootstock blight) and to reduce the inoculum level by appropriate pruning in winter, to apply risk assessment systems to better know disease patterns in space and time and to select the more efficient chemical and biological control agents for preventative treatments. In the European Union nurseries, the intensity and quality of the inspections and analytical laboratory controls of the plant material should be increased in order to guarantee its sanitary status and the E. amylovora absence. In the orchards, the successful integrated management must be based on the local knowledge of the biology of the pathogen and the epidemiology of the disease, for selecting the most appropriate control strategies and cultural practices, for reducing the pathogen populations and their damages to an economically acceptable threshold.

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In accordance with the Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data 15/1999, of 13 December, Promotora de Exportaciones Catalanas SA (hereinafter PRODECA), whose address is Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 620, principal, 08007 Barcelona, with tax reg. no. NIF A58241316, declares that the images contained on the website www.smartfruitcongress.cat are included in a file belonging to PRODECA. The purpose of this file is the promotion, via its website, of the activities conducted by PRODECA – SmartfFruit IPM International Congress.

PRODECA guarantees that you may, at any time, exercise your right to access, rectify, cancel or oppose by writing to the aforesaid postal address, using the reference "PROTECCIÓN DE DATOS - SMARTFRUIT", or to the email address smartfruitcongress@smartfruitcongress.cat.

Specifically, to correctly exercise these rights you must clearly provide the following items in that communication:
- Name, surname(s) and photocopy of National Identity Document or Passport.
- Statement of the purpose of the request.
- Address for notification purposes.
PRODECA also declares that it reserves the right to delete from its website any content that it considers violates current and applicable legislation.

D’acord amb l’article 17.1 de la Llei 19/2014, la ©Generalitat de Catalunya permet la reutilització dels continguts i de les dades sempre que se'n citi la font i la data d'actualització i que no es desnaturalitzi la informació (article 8 de la Llei 37/2007) i també que no es contradigui amb una llicència específica.