Controlling brown spot of pear by a synthetic antimicrobial peptide Under field conditions

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Brown spot of pear, caused by Stemphylium vesicarium, is a fungal disease of increasing importance in several pear-growing areas of Europe. Disease control measures include the application of fungicides and sanitation methods. Antimicrobial peptides may be a complement or alternative to conventional fungicides used to manage brown spot disease. In a previous study, the synthetic peptide BP15 showed postinfection fungicidal activity against S. vesicarium in in vitro and detached-leaf assays. In the present study, the efficacy of BP15 (KKLFKKILKVL-NH2) in controlling brown spot of pear was evaluated under field conditions using potted plants and pear trees in orchards. In field trials, the treatments with BP15 or with the fungicide thiram were scheduled according to the infection risk predicted by the BSPcast model. Potted pear plants treated with BP15 showed a disease reduction of about 42 to 60% in five of seven trials. In three of four tree trials, the disease severity on shoots treated with BP15 was significantly lower than in the nontreated controls, with a mean efficacy of 38.2%. It was concluded that BP15 is a good candidate to be further developed as a fungicide for controlling brown spot of pear ​
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