Archives of microbiology

Growth inhibition of Erwinia amylovora and related Erwinia species by neutralized short‑chain fatty acids.

PMID 24077735


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are used to preserve food and could be a tool for control of fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora on apple, pear and related rosaceous plants. Neutralized acids were added to buffered growth media at 0.5–75 mM and tested at pHs ranging from 6.8 to 5.5. Particularly at low pH, SCFAs with a chain length exceeding that of acetic acid such as propionic acid were effective growth inhibitors of E. amylovora possibly due to uptake of free acid and its intracellular accumulation. We also observed high inhibition with monochloroacetic acid. An E. billingiae strain was as sensitive to the acids as E. amylovora or E. tasmaniensis. Fire blight symptoms on pear slices were reduced when the slices were pretreated with neutralized propionic acid. Propionic acid is well water soluble and could be applied in orchards as a control agent for fire blight.