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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Apr;67(4):1851-64.

Impact of biocontrol Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0 and a genetically modified derivative on the diversity of culturable fungi in the cucumber rhizosphere.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale and CSMT-CNR, Viale P.A. Mattioli 25, 10125 Torino, Italy.


Little is known about the effects of Pseudomonas biocontrol inoculants on nontarget rhizosphere fungi. This issue was addressed using the biocontrol agent Pseudomonas fluorescens CHA0-Rif, which produces the antimicrobial polyketides 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (Phl) and pyoluteorin (Plt) and protects cucumber from several fungal pathogens, including Pythium spp., as well as the genetically modified derivative CHA0-Rif(pME3424). Strain CHA0-Rif(pME3424) overproduces Phl and Plt and displays improved biocontrol efficacy compared with CHA0-Rif. Cucumber was grown repeatedly in the same soil, which was left uninoculated, was inoculated with CHA0-Rif or CHA0-Rif(pME3424), or was treated with the fungicide metalaxyl (Ridomil). Treatments were applied to soil at the start of each 32-day-long cucumber growth cycle, and their effects on the diversity of the rhizosphere populations of culturable fungi were assessed at the end of the first and fifth cycles. Over 11,000 colonies were studied and assigned to 105 fungal species (plus several sterile morphotypes). The most frequently isolated fungal species (mainly belonging to the genera Paecilomyces, Phialocephala, Fusarium, Gliocladium, Penicillium, Mortierella, Verticillium, Trichoderma, Staphylotrichum, Coniothyrium, Cylindrocarpon, Myrothecium, and Monocillium) were common in the four treatments, and no fungal species was totally suppressed or found exclusively following one particular treatment. However, in each of the two growth cycles studied, significant differences were found between treatments (e.g., between the control and the other treatments and/or between the two inoculation treatments) using discriminant analysis. Despite these differences in the composition and/or relative abundance of species in the fungal community, treatments had no effect on species diversity indices, and species abundance distributions fit the truncated lognormal function in most cases. In addition, the impact of treatments at the 32-day mark of either growth cycle was smaller than the effect of growing cucumber repeatedly in the same soil.

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