One of the fruit industry’s longest unresolved adversaries – apple canker – will be under scrutiny in 2015 following the funding of a new HDC 5 year Trial. Leading EMR Fruit Pathologist Angela Berrie gave this news to members of the BEST Fruit Discussion Group at a recent meeting.
Members had given a ‘clarion call’ 12 months ago to then EMR Station CEO Professor Peter Gregory, who promised action against this devastating disease.
Angela Berrie has a long CV of trials and experimentations with apple canker, and despite knowing almost every attribute of this tenacious disease, reported that even its name had been changed (now Neonectria ditissima) Before revealing the components of the new trial, she confirmed the devastating impact it has on newly planted and juvenile trees, commenting that huge losses has been experienced by growers, especially of some of the new cultivars being grown (Rubens, Kanzi, Gala). In some instances new orchards had to be totally replaced.
Other threats to fruit growers came from canker eye rot and fruit storage losses attributable to canker infections.
The new trial which will track the disease from nursery to store would use molecular makers to identify its presence, investigate endophytes and other BCAs as possible biocontrols, look at rootstock susceptibility/tolerance, and stock:scion interactions. She also revealed that novel methods of application (tree injection) were to be investigated.