CANTERBURY, United KingdomResearchers at the University of Kent and East Malling Research have identified a new way of controlling brown rot disease in stone fruit, such as cherries and plums, by using biological control agents derived from isolates from the fruit, according to a new study published in the journal Agronomy.
The fungal disease, caused by the agent Monilinia laxa that attacks stone fruit and causes blossom wilt and twig canker, taditionally has been controlled through the use of fungicide treatments that are now becoming ineffective. Now, researchers identified a new way for controlling stone fruit disease using biological control agents derived from isolates from UK cherries and plums. The researchers identified 12 possible isolates and then narrowed this down to two via a series of tests on detached fruit. Controlled sets of cherries and plums with and without the biological control agents addedwere placed in conditions known to induce the onset of brown rot disease.
Our research found that microbial antagonists against the brown rot disease can be found from indigenous sources in the United Kingdom and that they are capable of preventing the disease in controlled conditions. 'The challenge now will be to see whether these biocontrol agents can be adapted commercially and be used by the stone fruit industry to control brown rot disease," the researchers wrote.