André H. M.
Gerda E. M.
Thomas F. C.
Ben J. J.
Leiden University, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Clusius Laboratory, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands
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Accepted 6 July 2003.
The fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici causes foot and root rot of tomato plants, which can be controlled by the bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS365 and P. chlororaphis PCL1391. Induced systemic resistance is thought to be involved in biocontrol by P. fluorescens WCS365. The antifungal metabolite phenazine-1-carbox-amide (PCN), as well as efficient root colonization, are essential in the mechanism of biocontrol by P. chlororaphis PCL1391. To understand the effects of bacterial strains WCS365 and PCL1391 on the fungus in the tomato rhizosphere, microscopic analyses were performed using different autofluorescent proteins as markers. Tomato seedlings were inoculated with biocontrol bacteria and planted in an F. oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici-infested gnotobiotic sand system. Confocal laser scanning microscope analyses of the interactions in the tomato rhizosphere revealed that i) the microbes effectively compete for the same niche, and presumably also for root exudate nutrients; ii) the presence of either of the two bacteria negatively affects infection of the tomato root by the fungus; iii) both biocontrol bacteria colonize the hyphae extensively, which may represent a new mechanism in biocontrol by these pseudomonads; and iv) the production of PCN by P. chlororaphis PCL1391 negatively affects hyphal growth and branching, which presumably affects the colonization and infecting ability of the fungus.
© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society