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NZ To Host International Fire Blight Conference

NZ Coup - Host Of International Fire Blight Conference

That New Zealand will host the Ninth International Workshop on Fire Blight is quite a "coup" on the international science scene said HortResearch Fire Blight expert and conference convenor, Chris Hale.

The workshop, which will see the world's Fire Blight experts gather in Napier from 8-12 October 2001, is being hosted by The New Zealand Society for Horticulture and Science.

Fire Blight is the most devastating bacterial disease of apples and pears and it is established throughout most of the world. The causal agent of the disease, Erwinia amylovora, attacks leaves and blossoms during mid summer and as it spreads, individual branches or whole trees appear to have been scorched by fire.

Of the last five workshops Dr Hale has attended, this will be the first in the Southern Hemisphere. "I consider it an honour to get the workshop down here."

As Fire Blight is a high profile, much researched disease, with huge economic implications, it is important for New Zealand to be at the forefront of new developments, Dr Hale said.

One of the new initiatives of this conference will be to organise a management structure that will encourage collaborative research amongst world experts during the next 10 years.

Member of the organising committee and speaker at the workshop, HortResearch scientist Joel Vanneste edited and wrote in a book on Fire Blight that was recently released for sale by CAB International.

Fire Blight - The Disease and its Causative Agent, Erwinia amylovora is the first multi-authored book, written by 25 international experts, who critically reviewed current Fire Blight literature, shared their knowledge on the disease and outlined control methods, Dr Vanneste said.

"The great point about this book is that it is the only one on Fire Blight which offers a critical review by leading experts. It is the first of its kind that deals with all aspects of the disease, the pathogen and how to control it."

For those interested in attending the workshop, contact HortResearch for more information or register online at

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