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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613678

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Strategies to develop effective, innovative and practical approaches to protect major european fruit crops from pests and pathogens

Effective and innovative solutions for disease control

Are existing commercial compounds effective against the bacterial diseases?
Antibacterials and resistance inducers in plants that are commercially available are tested in kiwiplants infected with Psa, strawberry plants infected with Xf, and in peach plants infected with Xap. These studies are performed in the quarantine greenhouse and in the field in orchards naturally affected by the disease. We are currently confirming the efficacy or lack of effect of several products.

Are synthetic antimicrobial peptides based on natural structures effective to control the bacterial diseases?
Synthetic antimicrobial peptides from existing libraries at the University of Girona, consisting of linear, cyclic, cyclic lipopeptides, peptidotriazoles, fengycin and iturin derivativesare tested first in vitro against the three pathogens Psa, Xap and Xf. Several products showed promising activity against the three pathogens, at similar concentrations than antibiotics. Then, these lead compounds are tested ex vivo (in detached plant organs), and the best of them assayed in whole plants in the quarantine greenhouse.

Is it possible to find bacterial strains within the natural microbiota of kiwifruit, stone fruit trees and strowberries that can protect against the bacterial diseases?
In this task the microbiota present in the phyllosphere of host plants has been isolated and screened for inhibition of Psa, Xap and Xf. A large strain collection of 500 members, including Bacillus subtilis/amyloliquefaciens, Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides from the University of Girona has been tested. Several strains of B. amyloliquefaciens and L. plantarum showed strong inhibitory activity. Then, these lead strains are tested in whole plants in the quarantine greenhouse.

Can the efficiency of bacterial disease control be improved by novel formulations of the biocontrol agents, combination with compatible compounds, or direct delivery to the plant sap?
Innovative formulations by physiological improvement of biocontrol strains, and compatibility between lead strains of biocontrol agents and novel compounds to develop bio-compatible mixed formulations, and delivery systems. Particularly, a prototype of trunk injection device have been developed to deliver products directly to the xylem sap of the plants.

Emilio Montesinos
Institute of Food and Agricultural Technology-INTEA
University of Girona (Spain)
Centre for Innovation and Research in Plant Health (CIDSAV)
Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de Girona (Spain)