Evaluation of four whole-plant inoculation methods to analyze the pathogenicity of Erwinia amylovora under quarantine conditions

Four methods were tested to assess the fire-blight disease response on grafted pear plants. The leaves of the plants were inoculated with Erwinia amylovora suspensions by pricking with clamps, cutting with scissors, local infiltration, and painting a bacterial suspension onto the leaves with a paintbrush. The effects of the inoculation methods were studied in dose-time-response experiments carried out in climate chambers under quarantine conditions. A modified Gompertz model was used to analyze the disease-time relatiobbnships and provided information on the rate of infection progression (rg) and time delay to the start of symptoms (t0). The disease-pathogen-dose relationships were analyzed according to a hyperbolic saturation model in which the median effective dose (ED50) of the pathogen and maximum disease level (ymax) were determined. Localized infiltration into the leaf mesophile resulted in the early (short t0) but slow (low rg) development of infection whereas in leaves pricked with clamps disease symptoms developed late (long t0) but rapidly (high rg). Paintbrush inoculation of the plants resulted in an incubation period of medium length, a moderate rate of infection progression, and low ymax values. In leaves inoculated with scissors, fire-blight symptoms developed early (short t0) and rapidly (high rg), and with the lowest ED50 and the highest ymax ​
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