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Isolation of bioactive antibiotic peptides from Bacillus brevis and Bacillus polymyxa against Botrytis grey mould in strawberry

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Grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea is a devastating disease that results in extensive yield losses to strawberry. Bacillus brevis (Brevibacillus brevis) and Bacillus polymyxa (Paenibacillus polymyxa), which showed strong antifungal activity against B. cinerea, were isolated from the phyllosphere of strawberry plants. The advantage of using these bacteria is that the biochemistry and physiology of production of antibiotic peptides antimicrobial substances is well documented. A study was conducted to assess the activity of both Bacilli and their antibiotic peptides produced against B. cinerea in strawberry plants in vitro and in vivo. In vitro bioassay, both Bacilli have strongly inhibited pathogen germination, growth and extra-cellular enzyme production. Bacillus brevis was generally the most effective in reducing Botrytis growth. Gramicidin S and polymyxin B peptide antibiotics were extracted from culture filtrate of B. brevis and B. polymyxa, respectively, purified by silica thin chromatography and identified by high performance liquid chromatography. Germination, growth rate and production of extra-cellular enzymes were more sensitive to both antibiotics. Gramicidin S was the most active against B. cinerea with a minimal inhibitory concentration of 15 mol/l. Polymyxin B also showed activity against B. cinerea at 25 mol/l. Under controlled conditions (18 - 22°C, 90% relative humidity and 12 h photoperiod), strawberry plants were sprayed with pathogens (105 spores/ml), antagonists (from 105 to 108 cells/ml) and antibiotic peptides (0 - 30 mol/l) for reducing grey mould. Disease incidence was decreased in the presence of B. brevis. Both antibiotic peptides inhibited Botrytis growth that was observed by scanning electron microscopy. The plant leaves adsorbed significant amounts of antibiotics which reached from 46.1 to 67.5% of the original solution. Under natural field conditions, these biocontrol and antibiotic peptides at different concentrations were evaluated in 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 seasons against Botrytis grey mould. Treating plants with B. brevis exhibited a significant high activity against the development of Botrytis disease on strawberry. Gramicidin S showed a strong potential in reducing disease incidence, followed by polymyxin B, and acted as a fungicide to the pathogen growth. Inhibition of B. cinerea by both Bacilli was similar to equivalent levels of their antibiotics produced. In addition, these treatments significantly reduced the development of Botrytis and increased fruit yield. It can be suggested that B. brevis and B. polymyxa may be considered as potential biocontrol agents against Botrytis grey mould on strawberry based on the production of antifungal peptides. Therefore, gramicidin S and polymyxin B products are considered as biocontrol agents and may play a significant role in the future for practical applications in strawberry management systems.
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Keywords: Botrytis cinerea; Brevibacillus brevis; Paenibacillus polymyxa; gramicidin S; peptide antibiotics; polymyxin B; strawberry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Plant Pathology, Davison of Agricultural Research and Biology, National Research Centre, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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