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Isolation of Maize Soil and Rhizosphere Bacteria with Antagonistic Activity against Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides

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Bacterial isolates from Mississippi maize field soil and maize rhizosphere samples were evaluated for their potential as biological control agents against Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides. Isolated strains were screened for antagonistic activities in liquid coculture against A. flavus and on agar media against A. flavus and F. verticillioides. We identified 221 strains that inhibited growth of both fungi. These bacteria were further differentiated by their production of extracellular enzymes that hydrolyzed chitin and yeast cell walls and by production of antifungal metabolites. Based on molecular and nutritional identification of the bacterial strains, the most prevalent genera isolated from rhizosphere samples were Burkholderia and Pseudomonas, and the most prevalent genera isolated from nonrhizosphere soil were Pseudomonas and Bacillus. Less prevalent genera included Stenotrophomonas, Agrobacterium, Variovorax, Wautersia, and several genera of coryneform and enteric bacteria. In quantitative coculture assays, strains of P. chlororaphis and P. fluorescens consistently inhibited growth of A. flavus and F. verticillioides in different media. These results demonstrate the potential for developing individual biocontrol agents for simultaneous control of the mycotoxigenic A. flavus and F. verticillioides.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Plant Mycotoxin Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710, USA 2: Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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