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Phytochemistry. 2006 Mar;67(6):595-604. Epub 2006 Jan 30.

Gluconic acid: an antifungal agent produced by Pseudomonas species in biological control of take-all.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, 111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102, USA.


Pseudomonas strain AN5 (Ps. str. AN5), a non-fluorescent Australian bacterial isolate, is an effective biological control (biocontrol) agent of the take-all disease of wheat caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici (Ggt). Ps. str. AN5 controls Ggt by producing an antifungal compound which was purified by thin layer and column chromatography, and identified by NMR and mass spectroscopic analysis to be d-gluconic acid. Commercially bought pure gluconic acid strongly inhibited Ggt. Two different transposon mutants of Ps. str. AN5 which had lost take-all biocontrol did not produce d-gluconic acid. Gluconic acid production was restored, along with take-all biocontrol, when one of these transposon mutants was complemented with the corresponding open reading frame from wild-type genomic DNA. Gluconic acid was detected in the rhizosphere of wheat roots treated with the wild-type Ps. str. AN5, but not in untreated wheat or wheat treated with a transposon mutant strain which had lost biocontrol. The antifungal compounds phenazine-1-carboxylic acid and 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol, produced by other Pseudomonads and previously shown to be effective in suppressing the take-all disease, were not detected in Ps. str. AN5 extracts. These results suggest that d-gluconic acid is the most significant antifungal agent produced by Ps. str. AN5 in biocontrol of take-all on wheat roots.

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