Fireblight

Fireblight - PATH/ANTH 2010 Plants, Pathogens and People...

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PATH/ANTH 2010 Plants, Pathogens and People Fireblight - The discovery of bacteria as plant pathogens Up to the late 19 th century plant pathology evolved in Europe Germany - Anton deBary. England - HM Ward and MJ Berkley US scientists lagged behind but were first to prove bacteria could cause important plant diseases It was difficult for Europeans to accept bacterial plant diseases because: ± initial work was done on fungi ± prominent plant pathologists studied fungi ± fungi caused economically important diseases in Europe (lateblight, rust, ) ± bacteria smaller than fungi ± often mistaken for motile stages of fungi. ± ideological entrenchment - difficult to displace a widely held idea Fireblight forced Americans to consider bacteria as plant pathogens Europeans dismissed phytobacteria but Americans held firm to their ideas and this forced a showdown between American scientist (Erwin Smith) and a distinguished German professor (Alfred Fischer) Evidence of phytobacteria Some European scientists studied them: 1880 - Wakker- Holland - proved bacteria caused yellows disease of hyacinth - not widely accepted Skepticism about pp bacteria 1882 - Robert Hartig - bacteria only appeared after fungal infection
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1884 - DeBary - bacteria could cause disease but the acidity of plant tissues limited damage potential - phytobacteria were rare and unimportant H. Marshall Ward - only in isolated cases do these low organisms cause of plant diseases Persistent American pathologists Key figures: Thomas J. Burrill, Joseph Charles Arthur, Erwin F Smith Why were US Scientists so convinced? Fireblight of apple and pear Pathogen: Erwinia amylovora - gram negative bacterium; native to eastern US Hosts Roseaceae family - apple, pear, quince, mayhaw, crabapples, hawthorn, serviceberry, mountain ash etc. .. Apple ( Malus domestica ) and pear ( Pyrus sp.) are not native to US
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± Apple (>7500 cvs but 15 account for 90% of US production) - COD Eastern Turkey - introduced into N. America by early European colonists in 1600s ± Pear – COD Western China Pathogen Erwinia amylovora - bacterium was in balance with native hosts but cultivation of susceptible exotic hosts led to disease epidemics. FB can extremely severe - limits pear production to west of Rocky Mntns.
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Fireblight - PATH/ANTH 2010 Plants, Pathogens and People...

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