New Beneficial Bacterium Named for Canada's 150th

Scientists have already established the importance of healthy soil in generating good yields and protecting plants against pests. Yield losses caused by pathogens, animals, and weeds, can create crop losses between 20 and 40% of agricultural productivity. Continuing soil research is crucial to understanding and taking advantage of beneficial organisms, evolved over millions of years, to help plants thrive. Dr. James T. Tambong and colleagues at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Ottawa Research and Development Centre have isolated one such beneficial organism, a bacterium that can fight fungal pathogens. To celebrate the discovery in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Dr. Tambong named this novel strain Pseudomonas canadensis.

Members of this newly discovered bacterium family, known as fluorescent Pseudomonads, are uniquely capable of producing many substances that play a role in maintaining soil health by protecting crops against fungal diseases. Various species of Pseudomonas can be found in all agricultural soils and are well adapted to grow in the rhizosphere, the immediate region of soil closest to plant roots. The species are of significant agricultural and environmental importance because they promote plant growth, degrade polluting foreign chemical substances, and prevent pests and disease.

This new bacterium could be used, in the future, as an alternative to chemical fungicides, thus improving soil health and crop yields in a sustainable manner. Greenhouse soil studies are being planned. This research provides solid scientific information which will benefit Canadian producers with healthier, more ecologically sustainable soils over the long term.

For more information:

James T. Tambong, Renin Xu, Eden Bromfield. Pseudomonas canadensis sp. nov., a biological control agent isolated from a field plot under long-term mineral fertilization. 28 November 2016, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. doi:

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