In this project knowledge will be developed on the ecology of X. fragariae in strawberry to support prevention and sanitation. This bacterial pathogen causes an economically important disease and is classified as a quarantine organism (EPPO A2) in strawberry propagation material.
In a collaborative project of ILVO (Flanders, Belgium) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (The Netherlands) and in cooperation with the Dutch Plant Protection Service and inspection services, knowledge will be generated for the disease management of Xanthomonas fragariae in strawberries. Research will be done on the relative importance of potential infection sources in the epidemiology of both organisms. This knowledge will be used for regulation of pathogens by the European Commission and national governments and wil be useful to establish critical control points in order to prevent disease outbreaks.
Knowledge will be generated on the moment in the chain in which plant material will be contaminated by interviews with stakeholders and surveys. While ILVO will focus on the spread and relevance of endophytic populations, PRI/PPO will study the role of epifytic populations.
The spread from symptomatic and asymptomatic plants will be studied using a strain of X. fragariae marked with green fluorescent protein. In greenhouse experiments environmental conditions will be studied resulting in symptom expression from latent infections. The survival of the bacterium in different substrates will be studied, including the potential existence of so-called viable but non culturable cells. Information will be integrated and used to establish critical control points and to develop strategies for plant health management.