COPING WITH FIRE BLIGHT IN PEARS: EXPERIENCE GAINED IN ISRAEL IN THE FIRE BLIGHT MANAGEMENT (FIRE-MAN) PROJECT
Fire blight was first detected in Israel in 1985. In the 10 years that followed, infections were scattered and the intensity of the disease, nationwide, was mild. However, severe epidemics developed in 1994 to 1996, leading to substantial damage and to the uprooting of many orchards. Analysis of the response of populations of Erwinia amylovora to streptomycin (the only bactericide registered for fire blight management) revealed that the pathogen had become resistant to that bactericide. This situation created a serious threat to the pear industry and an urgent solution was needed. To save the pear industry from destruction, an emergency research and development project was initiated in 1997. The short-term goal of the project was to develop, as quickly as possible, means that would enable the pear industry in Israel to endure the coming seasons. The long-term goal of the fire blight management (Fire-Man) project was to study the E. amylovora-pear pathosystem, so that a more long-lasting and comprehensive disease management schemes could be developed. In this paper, we describe the framework of the Fire-Man project and focus on its short-term research and development phase. As part of the Fire-Man project, we dealt simultaneously with the three defense lines used for fire blight management, viz., reduction of the amount of initial inoculum in the orchards before bloom, protection of the blossoms to prevent infection during bloom, and sanitation of infected plant tissues after bloom. As a result of the Fire-Man project, recommendations for disease management were modified. In the year 2000, the weather was highly conducive to E. amylovora throughout the country. Disease in untreated orchards was very severe and the pear industry in Israel could potentially have been devastated by fire blight that year. Nevertheless, the disease was adequately managed in most orchards and the nationwide damage was limited.
Shtienberg, D., Shwartz, H., Manulis, S., Kritzman, G., Zilberstaine, M., Oppenheim, D. and Herzog, Z. (2002). COPING WITH FIRE BLIGHT IN PEARS: EXPERIENCE GAINED IN ISRAEL IN THE FIRE BLIGHT MANAGEMENT (FIRE-MAN) PROJECT. Acta Hortic. 590, 253-262
chemical control, cultural control, decision support systems, disease forecasting, Erwinia amylovora, integrated pest management, oxolinic acid.