Geraniums destroyed due to rare bacteria

24-05-2020    13:13   |    Ap News

US, Mich.- Dozens of Michigan greenhouses destroyed a popular geranium after cuttings were found to be infected with rare bacteria that could threaten U.S. food crops if spread.

The infected cuttings of Fantasia Pink Flare geraniums imported from Guatemala went nationwide, but Michigan was the hardest hit, said Elizabeth Dorman, a plant pathology lab manager at the state agriculture department.


“This disease in particular (could cause) major devastation to our food crops, like potatoes, peppers and tomatoes,” Dorman said. “Countries that are dealing with this disease cannot ever plant these crops back into that same soil. There’s no effective chemical control to manage the disease.”


In Michigan, 41 facilities imported the geraniums. A grower notified authorities after noticing a strange wilt on the flowers, the Lansing State Journal reported.


Authorities ordered greenhouses to destroy the Fantasia Pink Flare and disinfect their facilities to prevent any spread. State inspectors visited greenhouses to ensure plants were properly destroyed and will continue to monitor for the disease this summer.


Dorman said geraniums will be available at greenhouses this year, but not the Fantasia Pink Flare.


Ralstonia spreads through irrigation water, soil or equipment. It kills plants by blocking water and nutrients from moving through their vascular systems.


It was last found in the U.S. in 2004. The federal government considers the bacteria a “select agent” because it can be used in bioterrorism.


Source: Ap News
Photo by Inderpreet Sekhon on Unsplash

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