Apples found in the Hudson Valley and other parts of the state are under attack from a new virus.

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In a recent study of New York state apple orchards, Cornell plant pathologists identified a new fungal pathogen that causes bitter rot disease in apples and another related fungus which is known to cause rot disease in other fruits was found for the first time in apples in New York State.

The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. The senior author for the study was Hudson Valley resident Srdjan Acimovic.

“We were shocked by what we found, just dumbfounded,” Hudson Valley Research Laboratory Senior Extension Associate Acimovic told the Cornell Chronicle. “We found these two species, one that has never been described before and one that has been described before but never on this host.”

Between 2017 and 2018, researchers collected apple samples from commercial and private apple orchards in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Albany, Westchester, Greene, Columbia and Suffolk counties and isolated Colletotrichum fungi in 400 separate cultures, according to the report

Colletotrichum causes what officials describe as "devastating rot diseases" in a number of fruits. If protective measures aren't applied the bitter rot could cause New York State to lose 25 percent of apples per year and some local farmers could lose 100 percent.

C. fioriniae was the dominant species found on apples, followed by C. chrysophilum, which was previously never found on apples and the newly discovered C. noveboracense, named after New York state in Latin, officials ay.

“We think that the range of these pathogens is expanding because of global warming, however, more work needs to be done to demonstrate this” Acimovic added.

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