In planta reduction of maize seedling stalk lesions by the bacterial endophyte Bacillus mojavensis
Abstract:Maize (Zea mays L.) is susceptible to infection by Fusarium verticillioides through autoinfection and alloinfection, resulting in diseases and contamination of maize kernels with the fumonisin mycotoxins. Attempts at controlling this fungus are currently being done with biocontrol agents such as bacteria, and this includes bacterial endophytes, such as Bacillus mojavensis. In addition to producing fumonisins, which are phytotoxic and mycotoxic, F. verticillioides also produces fusaric acid, which acts both as a phytotoxin and as an antibiotic. The question now is Can B. mojavensis reduce lesion development in maize during the alloinfection process, simulated by internode injection of the fungus? Mutant strains of B. mojavensis that tolerate fusaric acid were used in a growth room study to determine the development of stalk lesions, indicative of maize seedling blight, by co-inoculations with a wild-type strain of F. verticillioides and with non-fusaric acid producing mutants of F. verticillioides. Lesions were measured on 14-day-old maize stalks consisting of treatment groups inoculated with and without mutants and wild-type strains of bacteria and fungi. The results indicate that the fusaric-acid-tolerant B. mojavensis mutant reduced stalk lesions, suggesting an in planta role for this substance as an antibiotic. Further, lesion development occurred in maize infected with F. verticillioides mutants that do not produce fusaric acid, indicating a role for other phytotoxins, such as the fumonisins. Thus, additional pathological components should be examined before strains of B. mojavensis can be identified as being effective as a biocontrol agent, particularly for the control of seedling disease of maize.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 3, 2011
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- Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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