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Abstract

Ice-nucleating bacteria, which are known to occur naturally on many crops and have been associated with frost damage, may be subject to control with genetically engineered bacteria, dubbed "ice-minus" bacteria. Ice-minus technology is designed to depress the critical temperature at which frost damage begins by displacing the natural population of ice-nucleating organisms. A trial product has been tested in the field with strawberries. Although tests with bacteriacidal compounds have suggested other mechanisms for controlling the critical temperature in deciduous fruit crops, ice-minus may prove to be effective. This analysis examines the possibility of ice-minus being adopted by New York tree-fruit growers and the likelihood of it causing a major economic impact on the state's fruit industry. Based on the climatology, phenology of fruit trees, and the record of actual frost damage in New York, the need for ice-minus is apparently not great enough to conclude that its adoption would cause a significant impact on New York fruit production.

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