Plant growth-promoting and phytopathogen-antagonistic properties of bacterial endophytes from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cropping systems.

Pageni, B.B., Lupwayi, N.Z., Akter, Z., Larney, F.J., Kawchuk, L.M., and Gan, Y.T. (2014). "Plant growth-promoting and phytopathogen-antagonistic properties of bacterial endophytes from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cropping systems.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(5), pp. 835-844. doi : 10.4141/CJPS2013-356  Access to full text

Abstract

Endophytes are microorganisms that live within a plant without harming it. Bacterial endophytes were isolated from roots of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) grown under different rotations (3- to 6-yr in length) and soil management (CONV, conventional; CONS, conservation) in irrigated cropping systems with dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and timothy (Phleum pratense L.). The endophytes were characterized for nitrogen fixation potential, phytohormone production and phytopathogen-antagonistic properties. The nitrogen-fixing nitrogenase (nifH) gene was detected in potato grown in all rotations, presumably partly because the soil in all rotations contained Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. phaseoli from the dry bean phase. Sequence analysis revealed that it was homologous to the genes found in Burkholderia, Azospirillum, Ideonella, Pseudacidovorax and Bradyrhizobium species. Indole acetic acid (IAA) hormone production by endophytes isolated from potato grown under CONS management was 66% greater than that those isolated from potato grown under CONV management, and tended to be greater in longer than shorter rotations. When twelve endophytes were inoculated to dry bean, four increased shoot biomass by 27-34%, and six increased total (shoot + root) biomass by 25% on average. Endophytes from the longer CONS rotations (4-6Yr) resulted in significantly higher (by 9%) shoot biomass than the shortest CONS (3Yr) rotation. Six of 108 endophyte isolates exhibited antagonistic properties (reduced pathogen biomass by 12 to 58 % in dual culture assays in liquid media) against potato pathogens Pectobacterium atrosepticum, Fusarium sambucinum and Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. epedonicus. All the six isolates were from CONS soil management. Therefore, the benefits of long rotations, with their associated CONS soil management, to crop productivity in these irrigated cropping systems probably include nutritional (biological nitrogen fixation and IAA hormone production) and disease-control benefits imparted by endophytic bacteria.

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