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ISME J. 2009 Aug;3(8):977-91. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2009.33. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Phenazine antibiotics produced by fluorescent pseudomonads contribute to natural soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt.

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INRA, Université de Bourgogne, UMR 1229 Microbiologie des Sols et de l'Environnement, Dijon cedex, France.


Natural disease-suppressive soils provide an untapped resource for the discovery of novel beneficial microorganisms and traits. For most suppressive soils, however, the consortia of microorganisms and mechanisms involved in pathogen control are unknown. To date, soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt disease has been ascribed to carbon and iron competition between pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum and resident non-pathogenic F. oxysporum and fluorescent pseudomonads. In this study, the role of bacterial antibiosis in Fusarium wilt suppressiveness was assessed by comparing the densities, diversity and activity of fluorescent Pseudomonas species producing 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG) (phlD+) or phenazine (phzC+) antibiotics. The frequencies of phlD+ populations were similar in the suppressive and conducive soils but their genotypic diversity differed significantly. However, phlD genotypes from the two soils were equally effective in suppressing Fusarium wilt, either alone or in combination with non-pathogenic F. oxysporum strain Fo47. A mutant deficient in DAPG production provided a similar level of control as its parental strain, suggesting that this antibiotic does not play a major role. In contrast, phzC+ pseudomonads were only detected in the suppressive soil. Representative phzC+ isolates of five distinct genotypes did not suppress Fusarium wilt on their own, but acted synergistically in combination with strain Fo47. This increased level of disease suppression was ascribed to phenazine production as the phenazine-deficient mutant was not effective. These results suggest, for the first time, that redox-active phenazines produced by fluorescent pseudomonads contribute to the natural soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt disease and may act in synergy with carbon competition by resident non-pathogenic F. oxysporum.

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