Interactions of antibiotics with Pseudomonas fluorescens strain A506 in the control of fire blight and frost injury to pear.
In field trials in California, USA, over 16 years, P. fluorescens strain A506 and the antibiotics streptomycin and oxytetracycline, to which the strain is resistant, were evaluated individually and in combination to assess their interactions and the relative efficacy of bactericides and antagonistic bacteria in the control of Erwinia amylovora and frost injury to pear. Strain A506 maintained population sizes of greater than about 105cells/fruiting spur for over 30 d on trees inoculated once with this strain. Over 90% of the flowers on inoculated trees harboured detectable populations of strain A506. The population sizes of A506 were as high on inoculated trees, to which streptomycin was applied, as on trees sprayed only with A506. The population sizes of ice nucleation active bacteria were about 100-fold lower on trees treated with strain A506 than on untreated control trees or trees sprayed only with antibiotics. The incidence of frost injury to pear fruit in natural frosts and of fire blight was reduced to about 40 and 50%, respectively, of that on untreated trees. The incidence of frost damage and fire blight was lower on trees treated both with strain A506 and antibiotics than with either agent alone. It is concluded that strain A506 and the antibiotics acted additively in the control of frost and disease.