Summary
Antibiotics are essential for control of bacterial diseases of plants, especially fire blight of pear and apple and bacterial spot of peach. Streptomycin is used in several countries; the use of oxytetracycline, oxolinic acid and gentamicin is limited to only a few countries. Springtime antibiotic sprays suppress pathogen growth on flowers and leaf surfaces before infection; after infection, antibiotics are ineffective. Antibiotics are applied when disease risk is high, and consequently the majority of orchards are not treated annually. In 2009 in the United States, 16,465 kg (active ingredient) was applied to orchards, which is 0.12% of the total antibiotics used in animal agriculture. Antibiotics are active on plants for less than a week, and significant residues have not been found on harvested fruit. Antibiotics have been indispensable for crop protection in the United States for more than 50 years without reports of adverse effects on human health or persistent impacts on the environment.
 
Keywords
Antibiotic residue – Bacterial panicle blight of rice – Bacterial spot of peach – Burkholderia glumaeErwinia amylovora – Fire blight of pear and apple – Gentamicin – Oxolinic acid – Oxytetracycline – Plant disease control – Streptomycin – Xanthomonas arboricola pv. Pruni.