First record of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) in Austria. Preliminary experiments on the survival on fruit boxes.
Fire blight was discovered for the first time in Austria in the summer of 1993 during a field survey: 2 Cotoneaster salicifolius plants were found to be infected in Vorarlberg, western Austria. This region is close to a zone in Germany where fire blight has been destructive for the last few years. An additional survey in 1994 did not detect any other focus in the country with the exception of a single pear tree, in the same area. Isolates from infected plants were compared with strains of E. amylovora from other countries. All tests performed - physiological, serological, chemical (fatty acid profiles) - showed these isolates to be E. amylovora. In order to consider the risks of the spread of fire blight on crates, artificially contaminated pieces of wood (beech, poplar, spruce) and plastic were kept at 26°C and 4° in Petri dishes. After 3 months of storage living bacteria were recovered from each material.