APS Homepage

Oral: Role of Phytobiomes in Plant Disease Control


Evaluation of microbials using comparative genomics and high-throughput assays as a method to reduce product development time.
S. INCH (1), J. Leder (2), A. Taylor (2), M. Frodyma (2), M. Furlan (2), M. Schulte (2), R. Berka (2), M. Maranta (2), B. Cherry (3), E. Prusinkiewicz (4) (1) Novozymes, U.S.A.; (2) Novozymes, U.S.A.; (3) novozymes.com, U.S.A.; (4) novozymes, Canada

When developing any biocontrol product it is important to correlate lab research to field efficacy. This requires careful planning and design to help minimize false positives that are passed through screens to expensive field trials. Screening is a multistep process starting with in-vitro plate assays followed by growth cabinet and greenhouse disease trials. The positive hits from these experiments are then advanced to the field. Developing high-throughput assays helps to reduce the development time of new products through quicker initial screening processes, and increase the understanding of the potential modes of action. High-throughput experiments using a commercial biocontrol product, Taegro, and other B. amyloliquefaciens strains were developed using comparative genomics and plant phenotyping on the Scanalyzer system. Forty-three B. amyloliquefaciens genomes were analysed and compared for genes encoding for antimicrobials. To validate the role of these compounds, leaf disk and in planta assays were developed. Genes encoding key antimicrobial metabolites were either deleted or up-regulated in B. amyloliquefaciens (Taegro). The scanalyzer system was able to discern differences in the levels of biocontrol. Based on the results, it can be concluded that using comparative genomics and high-throughput assays could reduce the chances of false positives, increase the chance of identifying new biocontrol agents, and allow for quicker product release.