The disease, caused by the fungus Monilinia laxa, has traditionally been controlled using conventional fungicide treatments, but now the researchers have identified biological control agents found within infected fruits.
Professor Peter Jeffries of the university said: "In a growing number of cases traditional fungicide treatments are becoming ineffective. Our research found that microbial antagonists against the disease from indigenous sources in the UK are capable of preventing the disease in controlled conditions."
The challenge now will be to apply the findings to commercial treatments, he added. Currently, EMR is trialling two strains of the agents with commercial partners.
The research is published in the journal Agronomy.