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Microb Ecol. 2001 Feb;41(2):132-139.

Biological Control of Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea by Epiphytic Bacteria under Field Conditions.

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Institute of Microbiology, Biological-Pharmaceutical Faculty, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, D-07745 Jena, Germany.


The efficacy of a bacterial strain as a biocontrol agent in the field may be related to the ecological similarity between the biocontrol agent and the target pathogen. Therefore, a number of different Pseudomonas syringae strains were evaluated for their antagonistic activities in vitro (agar-diffusion assay) and in planta (greenhouse assay) against the target pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea. Six strains of five different pathovars were found to be antagonistic in vitro as well as in planta. The epiphytic fitness of the antagonistic Pseudomonas syringae strain 22d/93 and its two antibiotic-resistant mutants were examined on soybean plants in the fields. After adaptation the parental strain and its mutants had the ability to establish and maintain large epiphytic populations (about 106 cfu/g FW) over the whole growing season after a single spray inoculation. The epiphytic behaviors of the mutants and the parent were not significantly different. The introduced bacteria did not influence the total bacterial population size. When the antagonist was coinoculated with the pathogen, the development of the pathogen was significantly reduced during the whole growing season. When the antagonistic strain was inoculated 4 weeks in advance of the pathogen, this antagonistic effect could be markedly enhanced. The final population size of the pathogen reached just 104 cfu/g FW and was significantly reduced to 0.12% compared to the pathogen alone. This study demonstrates that biological control of foliar pathogens through colonization of the host plants with near isogenic or ecologically similar antagonistical strains seems to be a realistic goal.


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