Project

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Preservation of Central Asian fruit tree forest ecosystems, pome fruit varieties and germplasm from the recent epidemics caused by the invasive bacterial pathogen Erwinia amylovora (fire blight)

Applicant Smits Theo H.M.
Number 177515
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Institut Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen ZHAW
Institution of higher education Zurich University of Applied Sciences - ZHAW
Main discipline Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Start/End 01.08.2018 - 31.07.2022
Approved amount 598'140.00
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All Disciplines (7)

Discipline
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Molecular Biology
Environmental Research
Ecology
Experimental Microbiology
Botany
Social geography and ecology

Keywords (8)

Fire blight; Forest ecosystems; Fruit orchards; Endangered species; Apple germplasm; Central Asia; Conservation biology; Bacterial pathogens

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Viele der heute weltweit verbreiteten Kernobstsorten haben ihren Ursprung in Zentralasien . In Teilen des Tian-Shan-Gebirges ist der asiatische Wildapfel Malus sieversii die dominante Pflanzenart und bildet ausgedehnte Apfelbaumwälder als Grundlage des lokalen Ökosystems. Der ursprünglich aus Nordamerika stammende bakterielle Erreger des Feuerbrandes (Erwinia amylovora), breitet sich von Europa seit den Fünfzigerjahren in Richtung Osten aus und wurde vor zehn Jahren erstmals in kasachischen und kirgisischen Obstanlangen nachgewiesen. Erwinia amylovora stellt für die angrenzenden ursprünglichen Apfelbaumwälder und deren Biodiversität eine erhebliche Gefahr dar, was auch eine Bedrohung für die lokale rurale Wirtschaft darstellt, welche stark auf den natürlichen Ressourcen des Waldes basiert.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Das primäre Ziel ist die negativen Folgen der Feuerbrandverbreitung in Zentralasien zu minimieren, indem die Verbreitung und die Auswirkungen der Krankheit in natürlichen Waldgebieten wie auch in benachbarten Obstplantagen erforscht werden. Die Epidemiologie des Feuerbrandes in Zentralasien wird sowohl mit klassischen diagnostischen Mitteln als auch mit molekularbiologische Methoden charakterisiert, um an den lokalen Bedingungen angepasste Bekämpfungsstrategien entwickeln und etablieren zu können. Zudem sollen existierende regionale Einrichtungen zur Bewahrung der Biodiversität wie Saatgutbibliotheken und botanische Gärten während des Projekts gestärkt werden und einheimische Sorten auf Feuerbrandresistenz für die Weiterzüchtung untersucht werden. Ebenso sollen an die lokalen Bedingungen angepasste Mikroorganismen als Kandidaten für die biologische Bekämpfung von Erwinia amylovora identifiziert und evaluiert werden.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Das geplante Projekt wird wichtige Einsichten in den Auswirkungen der Krankheit auf die Wälder Zentralasiens, ein Ökosystem das bezüglich Feuerbrandverbreitung noch meistens unberührt und weitgehend unerforscht ist. Die Ergebnisse werden die Ausarbeitung einer besseren Strategie zum Schutz der lokalen Arten ermöglichen, und somit den Erhalt der Biodiversität und der davon abhängigen ruralen Wirtschaft beitragen.


 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.07.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
MinION(TM) Sequenzierung ausgewählter CRISPR Regionen von Erwinia amylovora Isolaten
CarnalS. (2020), MinION(TM) Sequenzierung ausgewählter CRISPR Regionen von Erwinia amylovora Isolaten, Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW), Wädenswil (Switzerland).
Application of immunochromatographic method of express diagnostics of fire blight in Malus sieversii in Kazakhstan
Argynbayeva A.M., Malakhova N.P., Skiba Y.A., Maltseva E.R. (2019), Application of immunochromatographic method of express diagnostics of fire blight in Malus sieversii in Kazakhstan, in Research Results, 3(83), 311-315.
Fire blight caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora is a major threat to walnut-fruit forests ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan.
DoolotkeldievaT., BobushovaS., ZholdoshbekovaS., Ecenaali uuluT. (2019), Fire blight caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora is a major threat to walnut-fruit forests ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan., in Proceedings of the 5th International Eurasian Congress on Natural Nutrition, Healthy Life & Sport., Ankara (Turkey)Gazi Univesity, Ankara (Turkey).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
BIOREBA AG Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Agricultural University of Georgia (Tbilisi) Georgia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Agroscope Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
All-Russian Plant Quarantine Centre Russia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Tethys Scientific Society Kazakstan (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Flora and Fauna International - Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan offices Tajikistan (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
III. International Eurasian Agriculture & Natural Sciences Congress Talk given at a conference Isolation and characterization of Erwinia amylovora strains from Southern Kyrgyzstan. 17.10.2019 Antalya, Turkey Doolotkeldieva Tinatin;
5th International Eurasian Congress on Natural Nutrition, Healthy Life & Sport Talk given at a conference Fire blight caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora is a major threat to walnut-fruit forests ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan 02.10.2019 Ankara , Turkey Doolotkeldieva Tinatin;
2nd International Symposium on Fire Blight of Rosaceous Plants Poster Direct molecular discrimination of rpsL variants leading to streptomycin resistance in Erwinia amylovora and detection of in vitro-generated streptomycin-dependent mutants 17.06.2019 Traverse City (MI), United States of America Rezzonico Fabio;
2nd International Symposium on Fire Blight of Rosaceous Plants Talk given at a conference Molecular analysis of the distribution of two ancestral populations of Erwinia amylovora in Europe using CRISPR data. 17.06.2019 Traverse City (MI), United States of America Rezzonico Fabio;
2nd International Symposium on Fire Blight of Rosaceous Plants Talk given at a conference Preservation of Central Asian fruit tree forests from the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora 17.06.2019 Traverse City (MI), United States of America Rezzonico Fabio;
First Congress of The Turkic World on Health and Natural Sciences Talk given at a conference The use of endophytic bacteria against apple and pear diseases in organic orchards 21.04.2019 Osh, Kyrgyzstan Doolotkeldieva Tinatin;
World Mountain Forum 2018 Poster Preservation of Central Asian fruit tree forests from the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora 23.10.2018 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Doolotkeldieva Tinatin; Rezzonico Fabio; Smits Theo H.M.;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
R4D Kick-off Meeting and training course 06.03.2019 Wädenswil, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
International seminar on biodiversity studies on the basis of Varzob mountain botanical station «Kondara» Talk 24.06.2019 Dushanbe, Tajikistan Doolotkeldieva Tinatin;
Session of the the unicameral parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic (Joğorku Keñeş) Talk 22.02.2019 Bishkek, Switzerland Doolotkeldieva Tinatin;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Seminar on fire blight at Gava village Achi forestry unit 10.07.2019 Achi , Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Gava village 09.07.2019 Gava , Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Toskool Ata 08.07.2019 Toskool Ata , Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Dashman Forest Reserve 03.07.2019 Arstanbap-Ata, Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Kyzyl-Unkur village 02.07.2019 Kyzyl-Unkur, Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Kara Alma village 01.07.2019 Kara Alma, Kyrgyzstan
Seminar on fire blight at Zhongar-Alatau state national nature park 07.06.2019 Zhongar-Alatau state national nature park , Kazakstan
Seminar on fire blight at Akkazy farm 19.05.2019 Akkazy , Kazakstan
Seminar on fire blight for garden owners 17.05.2019 South-East Kazakhstan, Kazakstan
Seminar on fire blight at Talgar 16.05.2019 Talgar , Kazakstan
Seminar about fire blight at Aksu-Zhabagly 24.04.2019 Aksu-Zhabagly state nature reserve, Kazakstan

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) IZA Praktikum in Bischkek (Kirgistan), Januar-März 2020 Blog von Simon Carnal German-speaking Switzerland International 2020

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
201259 Development of a fire blight app for use in Central Asia 01.03.2021 Transformation Accelerating Grant

Abstract

Domesticated apple and pear species are native of Central Asia, where they represent the dominant species in mid-altitude forests located in mountainous regions. They constitute a critical foundation for entire ecosystems of plants, insects and animals. Fire blight, caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, is the most devastating disease affecting pome fruit production globally. The disease is native to North America and was imported to Western Europe in the 1950’s, spreading from west to east in the ensuing decades. Starting from 2008, the first cases were detected also in Kyrgyz and Kazakh orchards, with some recent penetrations into the natural forests. The arrival of fire blight in the center of origin of pome fruit species is a major threat to the whole forest ecosystem, the endangered flora and fauna species therein contained and local rural economies that subsist on the forest’s natural resources.Together with our academic and non-governmental organization partners in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, we aim to understand and minimize the impact of fire blight in Central Asia by monitoring the presence and movements of the disease in natural forests and the influence of adjacent fruit-growing areas, where international commercial apple cultivars are grown. The objectives of this project are (1) the determination of the dissemination routes of fire blight to and within Central Asia by implementing targeted surveys in forests and nearby orchards in combination with molecular source tracking: this will be achieved by training local staff on disease recognition, field-applicable molecular diagnostic procedures and by developing advanced typing methods; (2) to use the acquired data to obtain an unprecedented understanding of the disease dynamics in natural forest ecosystems and to assess the level of damage inflicted therein; (3) to work with all partners and stakeholders to develop locally-adapted phytosanitary strategies to enhance ecological conservation efforts and crop protection; (4) to add a further biodiversity protection layer through networking and consolidation of the existing germplasm preservation facilities; (5) to monitor local apple varieties for relative tolerance to fire blight for use in sustainable production and breeding programs; (6) to identify biocontrol agents adapted to the local conditions that can be used to combat fire blight in the orchards and in the forests. This r4d project offers an extraordinary opportunity to build capacity of phytosanitary services and community engagement essential for mounting a rapid and effective defense against fire blight invasion in Central Asian countries, thereby protecting the precious biodiversity of their forests and the local rural economies that are dependent thereof.
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