Experts from Clemson University and the University of Georgia have teamed to develop a test kit that can identify fungicide-resistant brown rot organisms on peaches.

“The chemicals that are being used these days to control brown rot are site-specific chemicals,” says Clemson plant pathologist Guido Schnabel, South Carolina state specialist for fruit diseases. “That means they attack the fungus at one particular place. So the fungus has a fairly easy way to produce resistance against those chemicals.”

Schnabel and colleagues A. Amiri as well as University of Georgia's Phil Brannen and Harald Scherm tested the identification kit in 2008, and it's ready for use this growing season, according to a news release.

“We’ve developed a kit that will enable growers to determine the resistance profile in their respective areas,” Schnabel says. “What we do is we go to the grower’s’ site. We collect samples, and within three days, using that kit, we can determine what kind of resistance profile the grower has in their respective area. So right off the bat a grower starts out with the correct sprays and uses the correct chemicals knowing what resistance profile they have.”
In addition to saving the growers money and helping the environment by using fewer chemicals, the work has more far-reaching benefit.

“The research and techniques can be used for other stone-fruit crops because this is a disease that not only affects peaches, it also affects nectarines and cherries and plum,” Schnabel says.