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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2000 Dec;13(12):1340-5.

Root colonization by phenazine-1-carboxamide-producing bacterium Pseudomonas chlororaphis PCL1391 is essential for biocontrol of tomato foot and root rot.

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Leiden University, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Clusius Laboratory, The Netherlands.


The phenazine-1-carboxamide-producing bacterium Pseudomonas chlororaphis PCL1391 controls tomato foot and root rot caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicislycopersici. To test whether root colonization is required for biocontrol, mutants impaired in the known colonization traits motility, prototrophy for amino acids, or production of the site-specific recombinase, Sss/XerC were tested for their root tip colonization and biocontrol abilities. Upon tomato seedling inoculation, colonization mutants of strain PCL1391 were impaired in root tip colonization in a gnotobiotic sand system and in potting soil. In addition, all mutants were impaired in their ability to control tomato foot and root rot, despite the fact that they produce wild-type levels of phenazine-1-carboxamide, the antifungal metabolite previously shown to be required for biocontrol. These results show, for what we believe to be the first time, that root colonization plays a crucial role in biocontrol, presumably by providing a delivery system for antifungal metabolites. The ability to colonize and produce phenazine-1-carboxamide is essential for control of F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici. Furthermore, there is a notable overlap of traits identified as being important for colonization of the rhizosphere and animal tissues.

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