Due to the lack of effective and non-phytotoxic materials for control of the blossom and shoot blight phase of fire blight in pome fruit trees, two novel control strategies have emerged: shoot growth retardation by bioregulators and applying resistance inducer compounds. Prohexadione calcium (ProCa) is the active ingredient of the bioregulator...Regalis® registered in several European countries. The reduction of shoot growth elongation is the most obvious effect of ProCa. Furthermore, it causes significant changes in the spectrum of flavonoids and their phenolic precursors, leading to the considerable reduction of susceptibility to fire blight.
In Poland, potted one-year-old apple trees of cvs. Gala Must grafted on M.26 and Sampion on M.9 (in 2001) as well as Gala Must on P.60 (in 2002) were treated with Regalis® at a range of concentration of 250, 150 or 150 + 100 ppm, respectively. The inoculation of shoots was made with the strain No.691 of E. amylovora (107 cfu/ml), on the 7th and 21st'day after treatments with Regalis. In Hungary, during the years of 2002 and 2003 one-year-old container grown apple trees of the cvs. Idared/M.9 and Freedom/M.9 were treated with the prohexadione-Ca, the active ingredient of Regalis® 100, 150 or 200 ppm, two weeks before inoculation with the Ea 1 strain of E. amylovora (107 cfu/m1).
In Poland, the suppression of fire blight in shoots reached up to 80%, depending on concentration and application time of Regalis®. In Hungary, the effect of prohexadione-Ca treatments, determined by the length of necrotic lesion developed, proved to be better than that of streptomycin used for comparison.
Recently, novel strategies and chemical agents for prophylactic protection against the bacterial (Erwinia amylovora) disease fire blight are being sought. Resistance-inducing compounds, such as prohexadione-Ca represent promising alternatives. Prohexadione-Ca is the active ingredient of the bioregulator Regalis, currently being introdu...ced in several European countries and overseas. Another product used in this study was Biomit Plussz, a leaf fertiliser providing harmonic supply of nutrient elements, the complete supply is assumed to improve the tolerance against diseases.
Treatments' effects of both of these products were compared to the effectiveness of treatments with antibiotics repeated twice, three or four times a season.
In the years of 2001 and 2002, the effectiveness of both Regalis and Biomit Plussz in reduction of incidence of shoot blight was similar, or proved to be superior to the check treatments consisting of repeated sprayings of antibiotics. Last year (2003) treatments of streptomycin resulted — although within the same magnitude — in a somewhat better control of shoot blight than sprayings with the other compounds.
As regards severity of blossom blight, inconsistent results were recorded concerning both Regalis and Biomit Plussz.
In general, prohexadione-Ca is less efficient for controlling flower infection by E. amylovora as compared to shoot infections, since successful prophylactic treatments are difficult to carry out early in the season. The highest effectiveness in fire blight management can, therefore, be achieved by using prohexadione-Ca (as preventive protection) in combination with streptomycin or other suitable antibiotics (as curative protection).