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Apple trees resistant to fire blight and apple scab

This press release is also available in Spanish.

Apple Scab and Fire Blight are two of the most important diseases affecting apple trees. The Venezuelan biologist, Alejandro Martnez Bilbao, has undertaken research into more than 200 types of apple tree, autochthonous to Spain, in order to select those varieties resistant to these pathogens. One of the main conclusions of the PhD thesis of this biologist is that, in Navarre, there are 12 apple tree varieties capable of resisting these highly damaging pests. This is the first time in Spain that such a study has been carried out.

The PhD defended at the Public University of Navarre is entitled, "Evaluation of the resistance of autochthonous varieties in Spain to Fire Blight (Erwinia amylovora) and to Apple Scab (Venturia inaequalis)".

The first measures against Apple Scab and Fire Blight

In 1996 a focus of Fire Blight appeared in Spain. This led government authorities to take a number of eradication measures, given the threat that the disease posed if it spread to other trees such as the pear. One of the decisions taken was to set up a research project, in which the Universities of Gerona, Valencia and Pamplona took part, in order to determine the class of apple trees that offered resistance or had low sensitivity to this pathogen. Some years later the study of the Apple Scab was included in the study, this being the other disease that most frequently attacks these types of fruit trees.

Both pests are highly damaging, although the Fire Blight has more serious consequences, given that it attacks all the plant's organs. The first symptom observed is that the buds appear to be burnt. If the fruit tree is very sensitive to the bacteria, it may die; but, if it is not very sensitive, it can halt the progress of the pest. The Apple Scab acts in a different manner, focusing on the leave
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Contact: garazi andonegi
garazi@elhuyar.com
34-94-336-3040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
17-Feb-2006


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