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Phytopathology. 2010 Dec;100(12):1330-9. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-03-10-0097.

Control of fire blight by Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 and Pantoea vagans C9-1 applied as single strains and mixed inocula.

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Oregon State University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Corvallis 97331, USA.


The biological control agents Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 and Pantoea vagans C9-1 were evaluated individually and in combination for the suppression of fire blight of pear or apple in 10 field trials inoculated with the pathogen Erwinia amylovora. The formulation of pathogen inoculum applied to blossoms influenced establishment of the pathogen and the efficacy of biological control. Pantoea vagans C9-1 suppressed fire blight in all five trials in which the pathogen was applied as lyophilized cells but in none of the trials in which the pathogen was applied as freshly harvested cells. In contrast, Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 reduced disease significantly in only one trial. A mixture of the two strains also suppressed fire blight, but the magnitude of disease suppression over all field trials (averaging 32%) was less than that attained by C9-1 alone (42%). The two biological control agents did not antagonize one another on blossom surfaces, and application of the mixture of A506 and C9-1 to blossoms resulted in a greater proportion of flowers having detectable populations of at least one bacterial antagonist than the application of individual strains. Therefore, the mixture of A506 and C9-1 provided less disease control than expected based upon the epiphytic population sizes of the antagonists on blossom surfaces. We speculate that the biocontrol mixture was less effective than anticipated due to incompatibility between the mechanisms by which A506 and C9-1 suppress disease.

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