Testing of Bacterial Endophytes from Non-Host Sources as Potential Antagonistic Agents against Tomato Wilt Pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum


The study was taken up with the objective of testing whether the endophytic organisms isolated from crops that are normally non-hosts to the bacterial wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum possessed pathogen-antagonistic activity and to evaluate the selected isolates for the alleviation of wilt disease in the target tomato crop through horizontal movement of promising organisms. Sixteen endophytic bacteria (EB) isolated from the micropropagated cultures of grape, watermelon and papaya were tested for potential antagonistic effects against R. solanacearum tomato isolate “NH-01” through agar-well diffusion assay. Enterobacter cloacae from papaya (EB-11) displayed the maximum antagonistic effect followed by Bacillus subtilis (EB-06) and B. flexus (EB-07) from watermelon and B. pumilus (EB-02) from grape. Testing the above organisms for crop protection through seed fortification of susceptible tomato cv. Arka Vikas at sowing in R. solanacearum inoculated (Ral+) organic cocopeat showed EB-02 and EB-11 promising (33% and 32% survival, respectively, four weeks after sowing against 15% in Ral+ control). A second trial showed 37%, 28%, 21% and 55% seedling survival 6 weeks after sowing for EB-02, EB-06, EB-07 and EB-11 respectively, compared to 2.5% in non-treated control. Assessing the four endophytes for crop protection in Ral+ sick-soil through seedling fortification at transplanting indicated less disease incidence in treated sets (40%, 40%, 20% and 20% survival, respectively, six weeks after transplanting) over non-fortified control (5%). Endophytic fortification of seedlings through hypocotyl inoculation showed some systemic resistance induction upon seedling transplanting to sick soil but not with petiole fortification. Seedling growth was enhanced by the isolates EB-06 and EB-07. The study thus identifies four endophytic organisms from crops unrelated to tomato possessing potential antagonistic activity against the wilt pathogen and prospects for exploitation as biocontrol agents coupled with seedling growth promotion effects.

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Thomas, P. and Upreti, R. (2014) Testing of Bacterial Endophytes from Non-Host Sources as Potential Antagonistic Agents against Tomato Wilt Pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. Advances in Microbiology, 4, 656-666. doi: 10.4236/aim.2014.410071.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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