Diagnostic tool kit protects strawberry crop

By Peter Kent

Brown rot test kitResearch to control brown rot in peaches is now being used to control fungal diseases in strawberries.

Fruit disease specialist Guido Schnabel worked with University of Georgia scientists to develop a diagnostic kit that helps peach growers select the most effective fungicides for sustained disease control.

Now he and University of Florida colleagues are applying the technology to fungal diseases that threaten the nation’s $2 billion strawberry crop.  

“We’ve developed a kit that will enable growers to determine the fungicide resistance profile in their respective areas,” said Schnabel. “We collect diseased fruit, conduct a sensitivity test, and within three days we can determine what works and what doesn’t.  This information allows science-based, location-specific disease management.”

California, Florida, Oregon and North Carolina are major strawberry producers. South Carolina producers grow strawberries as a small, high-dollar specialty crop, totaling about 700 acres statewide. The multi-university research is funded by a USDA grant.

For information: Guido Schnabel, 864-656-6705, schnabe@clemson.edu