Fight the (Fire) Blight

Jill Calabro, Ph.D. September 06 2019

It’s common knowledge that certain bacteria can make people sick, but did you know that bacteria can cause plant diseases as well? They most certainly do! The first bacterial pathogen to be identified was anthrax, a disease affecting sheep and cattle, in 1876. Shortly after that, the first bacterial plant disease was confirmed – fire blight on apples and pears.
 
Fire blight is likely native to North America and has colonized most of the U.S. and Canada. While outbreaks are irregular, reports of devastation to apple, pear, and other hosts were widespread in 20...

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