Apple blossom colonisation by Erwinia amylovora and activity of antagonists at high spatial resolution.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Despite decades of study and considerable progress made towards understanding the plant disease fire blight, and its causative agent the bacterial pathogen Erwinia amylovora, we still have no effective disease management system. Antibiotics, while initially an effective solution have proved unsustainable due to the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains of E. amylovora. Biological control offers an alternative treatment and prevention option by taking advantage of the natural antagonism between environmental bacterial strains. Identifying the bacterial strains that offer protection to apple blossoms and how they affect the infection process of E. amylovora, is the first step in developing a biological control system to protect the billion dollar global apple industry.
The research described in this thesis demonstrates the changing growth of E. amylovora, measured by both population size and with microscopic investigations of fluorescently labelled bacterial strains on apple blossoms. This research will identify strains effective in the management of E. amylovora infections, and develop a better understanding of the antagonistic mechanisms utilised by biocontrol strains for fire blight disease control.