A disease assay was optimized for late leaf spot disease of peanut using Cercosporidium per-sonatum in the greenhouse, and this assay was used in attempts to elicit induced systemic resistance using strains of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and chemical elicitors. Nineteen strains of spore-forming bacilli PGPR, including strains of Paenibacillus macerans, Brevibacillus brevis, Bacillus laterosporus, B. subtilis, B. pumilus, B. amyloliquefaciens, B. sphaericus, B. cereus, and B. pasteurii, which previously elicited systemic disease control activity on other crops, were evaluated in greenhouse assays. Seven PGPR strains elicited significant disease reduction in a single experiment; however, none repeated significant protection achieved in the greenhouse assay, while significant protection consistently occurred with the fungicide chlorothalonil (Bravo). In other greenhouse trials, neither stem injections of C. personatum nor foliar sprays of chemicals, including salicylic acid, sodium salicylate, isonicotinic acid, or benzo[1,2,3]thiadiazole-7-carbothioc acid S-methyl ester (Actigard), which elicit systemic acquired resistance on other crops, elicited significant disease protection. In contrast, foliar sprays with DL-β-amino-n-butyric acid (BABA), which is an elicitor of localized acquired resistance, resulted in significantly less late leaf spot disease in one of two tests. Combination treatments of four PGPR strains with BABA in the greenhouse did not significantly protect peanut from late leaf spot. Field trials conducted over two growing seasons indicated that none of the 19 PGPR strains, applied as seed treatments at two concentrations, significantly reduced late leaf spot disease. The same chemical elicitors tested in the greenhouse, including BABA, did not elicit significant disease protection. Some combinations of four PGPR and BABA significantly reduced the disease at one but not at two sample times. Collectively, these results suggest that late leaf spot resistance in peanut is not systemically inducible in the same manner as is resistance to diseases in other crops by PGPR and chemical inducers.
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