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Srdjan G. Acimovic

Education

PhD Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 2014  

M.S. Phytopathology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, 2009 

B.S. Plant Protection, University of Belgrade, Serbia, 2005

 

Selected Awards

Early Career Achievement Award by the by the Northeastern Division of the American Phytopathological Society in March 2021

Michigan Fruit and Vegetable Industry Scholarship recipient, December 2012. 

Alvin Rogers Endowed Research Scholarship recipient, April 2012.

Visit Acimovic lab at https://treefruitpathology.spes.vt.edu/

The purpose of my program is improving knowledge and understanding of plant pathogen biology, ecology, and population dynamics that could facilitate development of new disease management options and strategies on apple and pear. The goal is to elucidate quantitative parameters of pathogen survival and stress, improve understanding of plant defense responses under field conditions, and develop new or improve existing strategies for disease management. An integral part of my program are plant pathogen identification, detection, and fungicide and bactericide efficacy trials on apples and stone fruit with generating information that directly benefits the tree fruit industry of Virginia and the U.S. The two key areas of my research focus are:

(1) Plant Pathogen Biology, Ecology, and Population Dynamics with focus on: 

  1. Survival, physiology, and population dynamics of fire blight bacterium Erwinia amylovora under stress conditions and during overwintering
  2. Plant defense responses (SAR, ROS, gene expression)
  3. Plant pathogen identification, detection, characterization and population structure (Colletotrichum spp., Diplocarpon coronariae) 
  4. Plant pathogen resistance to biocides.

(2) Plant Pathogen Managment with focus on: 

  1. Fungicide and bactericide efficacy trials in the field and in vitro (EC50, MIC)
  2. Evaluation of classic and novel management options for apple and stone fruit tree pathogens
  3. Development of new strategies, tools, and programs for plant disease management.

My ongoing projects focus on investigating survival and population dynamics of fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora, population structure and fungicide resistance of fungal apple pathogens, plant defense responses (gene expression and compound accumulation), and evaluation and development of apple disease management options and programs.  One of the most interesting areas in research on fire blight is the effect of different stressors such as resistant cultivar/species, drought, low temperatures, and bactericides on E. amylovora physiology, population dynamics, and pathogenicity and virulence. Very little is known about E. amylovora  biology, ecology, and epidemiology during late summer, fall, and during the winter. Specifically, it is not understood which factors at these periods could influence fluctuations in population of this bacterium in the plant and how much. In order to improve and precisely apply existing fire blight control options, and provide basis for developing new tools in integrated management of this disease, more knowledge is needed about periods when E. amylovora is most vulnerable and least abundant in the host, including factors that lead towards these conditions. Knowing the key stress factors that affect E. amylovora will provide better understanding of how successful pathogen is in overwintering and what is the impact of the abundance of overwintered bacterial populations on the disease occurrence in the following season. This knowledge will enable improvement of existing and new fire blight prediction models, development of new management strategies, and allow more accurate and precise application of various practices thus securing high efficiency in fire blight control. Some ongoing projects focus on improving efficacy of post-infection spray programs for tissue invasion prevention and reduction of populations of fire blight bacterium E. amylovora. Of particular interest are sprays of different rates of copper and plant growth regulators, as well as use of penetrants to boost their efficacy. In addition, we are investigating detection and quantification of E. amylovora in tolerant and susceptible apple rootstocks.

The purpose of my extension program is to provide industry with disease management recommendations specific for each growing season. In recent years, fruit tree growers are challenged with complications associated with climate change such as mild winters, early spring frosts, unusually warm weather during bloom, and hailstorms early in the season. Some of these conditions often favor development of some of the major apple diseases such as scab, fire blight and bitter rot. Hence, the use of disease prediction models (NEWA, RIMpro) is crucial for forging out and issuing sound spray recommendations and their timing. In support of accuracy in model predictions, my lab is monitoring the start of discharge of apple scab fungus ascospores and their quantity. The need for precise timing of sprays and correct fungicide/bactericide choice for maximum efficacy has never been greater. This is primarily due to high potential for extensive damage diseases can cause, facilitated by growing apples in high density orchards, using spindle training systems, and planting new and susceptible apple cultivars and rootstocks that nurseries and fresh market prefer.  My disease management recommendations are delivered at spring extension meetings, during on farm visits and tours, via phone calls and e-mails, and through workshops, fruit schools and my blog webpage: https://treefruitpathology.spes.vt.edu/posts/  My extension engagement also includes diagnosis of tree fruit problems in cooperation with AREC entomology and horticulture faculty and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists, educators, and staff. Through networking with other research and extension plant pathologists and horticulturalists at conferences I attend, my lab delivers region wide information on tree fruit issues to the growers. Finally, through establishing and expanding my research program, my goal is to generate new information on pathogen biology, ecology and plant disease management to include into extension.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith, R. D. Santander, F. Khodadadi (2020): Proof of Concept for Shoot Blight and Fire Blight Canker Management with Post-Infection Spray Applications of Prohexadione-Calcium and Acibenzolar-S-Methyl in Apple, Plant Diseasehttps://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-08-20-1744-RE

P. L. Martin, T. Krawczyk, F. Khodadadi, S. G. Aćimović, K. A. Peter (2021): Bitter Rot of Apple in the Mid-Atlantic United States: Causal Species and Evaluation of the Impacts of Regional Weather Patterns and Cultivar Susceptibility, Phytopathology, https://doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-09-20-0432-R

Oberhänsli T., Dalbosco A., Leschenne V, Bohr A., Buchleither S., Tamm L., Wille L, Aćimović S. G., Khodadadi F., Ryu Y-H., Studer B., Schärer H-J., Patocchi A. (2021): Multiplexed SSR marker analysis of Diplocarpon coronariae reveals clonality within samples from Middle Europe and genetic distance from Asian and North American isolates, CABI Agriculture and Bioscience, Vol. 2, Article number: 21, pg. 1-15.

Chen, M. N., Santander, R. D. Talamas, E. J., Jentsch, P. J., Bon M-C., Aćimović S. G. (2021): Molecular Identification of Trissolcus japonicus, Parasitoid of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, by Species-Specific PCR. Insects 12(5), 467, pg. 1-15.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith, D. Raskonda, K. Lam (2021): Efficacy of New Synthetic and Soft Fungicides for Management of Apple Scab Fungus Venturia inaequalisFruit Quarterly, Spring issueVol. 29(1), pg. 21-27.

S. G. Aćimović, C. Meredith (2021): Evaluation of programs of Buran in Agral 90 or PureSpray Green for control of sooty blotch and flyspeck in 2020. Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 15:PF038. Volume 15Published, Mar 4, 2021.

S. G. Aćimović, C. Meredith, D. Raskonda, R. Delgado Santander (2021): Efficacy of sprays schedules based on Procure, Ziram, Vacciplant and Kasumin in cedar apple/quince rust and fire blight control in 2020. Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 15:PF037. Volume 15Published, Mar 4, 2021.

S. G. Aćimović, C. Meredith, D. Raskonda, K. Lam (2021): Evaluation of Stargus, Vacciplant, Cevya, Excalia, Miravis and Luna Sensation for apple scab control in 2020Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 15:PF036. Volume 15Published, Mar 4, 2021.

P. L. Martin , T. Krawczyk , F. Khodadadi , S. G. Aćimović, K. Peter (2021): Bitter Rot of Apple in the Mid-Atlantic US: Causal Species and Evaluation of the Impacts of Regional Weather Patterns and Cultivar SusceptibilityPhytopathology, First Look, 24 January 2021.

S. G. Aćimović, P.L. Martin, F. Khodadadi, K. A. Peter (2020): One Disease Many Causes: The Key Colletotrichum Species Causing Apple Bitter Rot in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Their Distribution, Habitats and Management OptionsFruit Quarterly, Winter issueVol. 28(4), pg. 12-21.

F. Khodadadi, J. B. González, P. L. Martin, E. Giroux, G. J. Bilodeau, K. A. Peter, V. P. Doyle, S. G. Aćimović (2020): Identification and characterization of Colletotrichum species causing apple bitter rot in New York and description of C. noveboracense sp. nov., Scientific Reports,Vol. 10 (11043), pg. 1-19. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-66761-9.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith, K. Lam, L. Weiner (2020): Evaluation of Cevya, Miravis, pyraziflumid, Aprovia, Luna Sensation and Fontelis for apple scab control in 2019Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 14:PF041. Volume 14Published Mar 9, 2020.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith, K. Lam, L. Weiner (2020): Evaluation of Excalia for apple scab control in 2019Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 14:PF042. Volume 14Published Mar 9, 2020.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2020): Evaluation of pyraziflumid fungicide programs for control of apple powdery mildew in 2017Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 14:PF054. Volume 14Published Mar 9, 2020.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2020): Evaluation of SDHI fungicide spray programs for control of grape powdery mildew in 2017Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 14:PF055. Volume 14Published Mar 9, 2020.

J. J. Doccola, J. J.Aiken, M. Waindle, D. M. Grosman, S. G. Aćimović (2020): Systemic Tree Injection of Propizol (14.3% wt./wt. propiconazole ME) in Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) for Control of Diplodia Tip Blight (Diplodia pinea)Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, Vol. 46(1): pg. 44-50.

R. D. Santander, C. L. Meredith, S. G. Aćimović (2019): Development of a viability digital PCR protocol for the selective detection and quantification of live Erwinia amylovora cells in cankersScientific Reports, Vol. 9 (11530), pg. 1-17. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47976-x.

S. G. Aćimović, D. K.H. Martin, R. M. Turcotte, C. L. Meredith, I. A. Munck (2019): Choosing an Adequate Pesticide Delivery System for Managing Pathogens with Difficult Biologies: Case Studies on Diplodia corticolaVenturia inaequalis and Erwinia amylovora, Book Chapter in Plant Diseases – Current Threats and Management Trends, ed by Topolovec-Pintarić S., IntechOpen, London, UK, pg. 133-158. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.87956.

S. G. Aćimović, E. Higgins, C. L. Meredith (2019): Effective Post-Infection Programs of Prohexadione-calcium for Reducing Shoot Blight and Preventing Fire Blight Canker Initiation on Apple Wood with Cost-Benefit AnalysisFruit Quarterly, Summer issue, Vol 27 (2), pg. 25-31.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2019): Evaluation of SDHI and DMI Fungicides in Mix with Surfactants and of New DMI Revysol® for Control of Apple Scab in the Hudson ValleyFruit Quarterly, Spring issue, Vol 27 (1), pg. 9-16.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith, N. Woelfersheim (2019): Evaluation of BAS-750-07F (Revysol), DMI and SDHI fungicides with LI 700 for control of apple scab in 2018Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 13:PF040. Volume 13Published Mar 1, 2019.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2019): Evaluation of FungOUT fungicide program for control of sooty blotch and flyspeck in 2018Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 13:PF041. Volume 13Published Mar 1, 2019.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2019): Efficacy of biologicals and low-rate copper formulations in blossom and shoot blight control in 2018Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 13:PF046. Volume 13Published Mar 1, 2019.

Ž. Pavlovic, R. D. Santander,  C. L. Meredith, S. G. Aćimović (2019): First Report of Colletotrichum fioriniae Causing Bitter Rot on Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. f.) Nakai) and Common Pear (Pyrus communis L.) in New York, U.S.A. Plant Disease, Vol. 103 (5), pg. 1032.

S. G. Aćimović, A. E. Wallis, M. R. Basedow (2018): Two Years of Experience with RIMpro Apple Scab Prediction Model on Commercial Apple Farms in Eastern New YorkFruit Quarterly, Winter issue, Vol 26 (4), pg. 21-27.

S. G. Aćimović, S. Rooney-Latham, S. Albu, D. M. Grosman, J. J. Doccola (2018): Characterization and Pathogenicity of Botryosphaeriaceae Fungi Associated with Declining Urban Stands of Coast Redwood in California. Plant Disease, Vol. 102 (10): pg. 1950-1957.

K. Gašić, Ž. Pavlović, R. Santander, C. Meredith, S. G. Aćimović (2018): First Report of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae Associated with Bacterial Blossom Blast on Apple (Malus pumila) in USAPlant Disease, Vol. 102 (9): pg. 1848.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2018): Evaluation of SDHI fungicides with surfactants for control of apple scab in 2017Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 12:PF022. Volume 12Published Mar 12, 2018.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2018): Efficacy of low-rate copper formulations, biologicals, and SAR-activator candidate Regalia/MBI-10612 in blossom and shoot blight control applied by spraying or trunk injectionPlant Disease Management Reports, No. 12:PF023Volume 12Published Mar, 12, 2018.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2018): Evaluation of SDHI fungicides for control of sooty blotch and flyspeck in 2016. Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 12:PF024Volume 12, Published: Mar, 12, 2018.

J. Doccola, R. Davis JR., S. G. Aćimović, D. Grosman (2018): Agricultural biomass as a matrix for release of plant active compoundsUS Patent 9,873,639, Granted: Jan. 23, 2018.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2017): Evaluation of newer biologicals and the SAR-activator candidate Regalia in fire blight control applied by spraying or trunk injectionFruit Quarterly, Winter issue, Vol 25 (4), pg. 25-29.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2017): Evaluation of dormant copper sprays with bark penetrating surfactants in reduction of Erwinia amylovora in cankers and of low-rate copper sprays in blossom blight controlFruit Quarterly, Fall issue, Vol 25 (3), pg. 15-20.

S. G. Aćimović, C. L. Meredith (2017): Evaluation of SDHI fungicides and Regalia for control of cedar apple rust in 2016Plant Disease Management Reports, No. 11:PF025Volume 11Published Aug 4, 2017.

D. K. H. Martin, R. M. Turcotte, T. M. Miller, I. A. Munck, S. G. Aćimović, A. M. Macias, C. M. Stauder, M. T. Kasson (2017): First Report of Diplodia corticola Causing Stem Cankers and Associated Vascular Occlusion of Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) in West VirginiaPlant Disease, Vol. 101 (2): pg. 380.

S. G. Aćimović, B. M. Cregg, G. W. Sundin, J. C. Wise (2016): Comparison of Drill- and Needle-based Tree Injection Technologies in Healing of Trunk Injection Ports on Apple TreesUrban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol. 19, pg. 151–157.

S. G. Aćimović, A. H. VanWoerkom, T. Garavaglia, C. Vandervoort, G. W. Sundin, J. C. Wise. (2016): Seasonal and Cross-seasonal Timing of Fungicide Trunk Injections on Apple Trees to Optimize Management of Apple Scab Fungus Venturia inaequalisPlant Disease, Vol. 100 (8): pg. 1606-1616.

S. G. Aćimović, C. Lapaire-Harmon, S. Bec, S. A. Wyka, K. Broders, J. J. Doccola (2016): First Report of Diplodia corticola Causing Decline of Red Oaks (Querqus rubra) in MainePlant Disease, Vol. 100 (3): pg. 649.

S. A. Wyka, J. J. Doccola, B. L. Strom, S. L. Smith, D. W. McPherson, S. G. Aćimović, K. D. Klepzig (2016): Effects of Grosmannia clavigera and Leptographium longiclavatum on Western White Pine Seedlings and the Fungicidal Activity of Alamo®, Arbotect®, and TREE-äge®Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, Vol. 42 (2): pg. 84–94.

S. G. Aćimović, Q. Zeng, G. C. McGhee, G. W. Sundin, J. C. Wise (2015): Control of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) on apple trees with trunk-injected plant resistance inducers and antibiotics and assessment of induction of pathogenesis-related protein genesFrontiers in Plant Science, Vol. 6: Article 16, pg. 1-10.

S. G. Aćimović, G. C. McGhee, G. W. Sundin, J. C. Wise (2015): Evaluation of Trunk-injected Bactericides and Prohexadione-calcium for Environmentally Friendly Control of Fire Blight (Erwinia amylovora) in ApplesProceedings of VII Congress on Plant Protection: Integrated Plant Protection – a Knowledge-Based Step towards Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Landscape Architecture, November 24-28, 2014, Zlatibor, Serbia, pg. 129-134.

S. G. Aćimović, A. H. VanWoerkom, P. D. Reeb, C. Vandervoort, T. Garavaglia, B. M. Cregg, J. C. Wise (2014): Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Trunk-injected Imidacloprid in Apple Tree CanopiesPest Management Science, Vol. 70(11): pg. 1751–1760.

A. H. VanWoerkom, S. G. Aćimović, G. W. Sundin, B. M. Cregg, D. Mota-Sanchez, C. Vandervoort, J. C. Wise (2014): Trunk Injection: An Alternative Technique for Pesticide Delivery in ApplesCrop Protection, Vol. 65, pp. 173-185.

J. C. Wise, A. H. VanWoerkom, S. G. Aćimović, G. W. Sundin, B. M. Cregg, C. Vandervoort (2014): Trunk Injection: A Discriminating Delivering System for Horticulture Crop IPMEntomology, Ornithology & Herpetology, Vol. 3: 126.

S. G. Aćimović (2014): Tree injection. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

S. G. Aćimović, J. S. Balaž, D. Đ. Aćimović, P. D. Reeb (2014): High magnitude of fire blight symptom development and canker formation from July onwards on two apple cultivars under severe natural infectionsJournal of Plant Pathology, Vol. 96(1): 159-168.

Balaž, J., Aćimović, S. G., Aleksić, G., Bodroža, M., Cvetković, B(2010): Evaluation of Possibilities for Control of Apple Scab Fungus Venturia inaequalis by Ecologically Acceptable ProductsPesticides & Phytomedicine, Vol. 25 (4): pg. 335-342.

Balaž, J., Aćimović, S. G., Crnobarac, J., Adamović, D., Jaćimović, G. (2010): Some important fungal pathogens of medicinal plants in Južna-Bačka regionPlant Doctor, Vol. 38 (1): pg. 27-32.

Balaž, J., Keserović, Z., Aćimović, S. G., Nikolić, Z., Mažić, J. (2009): Erwinia amylovora in Vojvodina and Measures of Control. Review of scientific papers from XXIV Seminar of Plant Protection in Vojvodina. University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Plant DoctorVol. 27 (Special issue): pg. 46-56.

S. G. Aćimović, G. Delibašić, A. Schilder, B. Tanović (2008): Eutypa Dieback and ESCA – Trunk Necrosis and Dieback Diseases of Grapevines in Serbia. Plant Doctor, Vol. 36 (2): pg. 94-103.

Balaž, J., Aćimović, S. G. (2008): Bacterioses of SoybeanPlant Doctor, 36 (3-4): pg. 226-235.

Delibašić, G., Aćimović, S., Gajić, S. (2006): Identification of Eutypa lata, a Grapevine ParasitePesticides & Phytomedicine, Vol. 21, No. 3, pg. 193-205.

Delibašić, G., Gajić, S., Aćimović, S. G. (2006): Fungal Diseases of Grapevine Wood. Pesticides & Phytomedicine, Vol. 21, No. 2, pg. 93-107.

Aćimović, S. G., Delibašić, G. (2005): Cultural characteristics of Eutypa lata and one unknown isolate on different nutrient media4-th Review of Scientific Papers of Agronomy Students with International Participation. University of Kragujevac, Serbia, pg. 129-138.