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Biocontrol of Avocado Dematophora Root Rot by Antagonistic Pseudomonas fluorescens PCL1606 Correlates With the Production of 2-Hexyl 5-Propyl Resorcinol

April 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  4
Pages  418 - 428

Francisco M. Cazorla , 1 Simon B. Duckett , 2 Ed T. Bergström , 2 Sadaf Noreen , 3 Roeland Odijk , 1 Ben J. J. Lugtenberg , 1 Jane E. Thomas-Oates , 3 , 2 and Guido V. Bloemberg 1

1Leiden University, Institute of Biology Leiden, Clusius Laboratory, Wassenaarseweg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands; 2Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, U.K.; 3Michael Barber Centre for Mass Spectrometry, Department of Chemistry, UMIST, Sackville Street, Manchester M60 1QD, U.K.

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Accepted 6 November 2005.

A collection of 905 bacterial isolates from the rhizospheres of healthy avocado trees was obtained and screened for antagonistic activity against Dematophora necatrix, the cause of avocado Dematophora root rot (also called white root rot). A set of eight strains was selected on the basis of growth inhibitory activity against D. necatrix and several other important soilborne phytopathogenic fungi. After typing of these strains, they were classified as belonging to Pseudomonas chlororaphis, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Pseudomonas putida. The eight antagonistic Pseudomonas spp. were analyzed for their secretion of hydrogen cyanide, hydrolytic enzymes, and antifungal metabolites. P. chlororaphis strains produced the antibiotic phenazine-1-carboxylic acid and phenazine-1-carboxamide. Upon testing the biocontrol ability of these strains in a newly developed avocado-D. necatrix test system and in a tomato-F. oxysporum test system, it became apparent that P. fluorescens PCL1606 exhibited the highest biocontrol ability. The major antifungal activity produced by strain P. fluorescens PCL1606 did not correspond to any of the major classes of antifungal antibiotics produced by Pseudomonas biocontrol strains. This compound was purified and subsequently identified as 2-hexyl 5-propyl resorcinol (HPR). To study the role of HPR in biocontrol activity, two Tn5 mutants of P. fluorescens PCL1606 impaired in antagonistic activity were selected. These mutants were shown to impair HRP production and showed a decrease in biocontrol activity. As far as we know, this is the first report of a Pseudomonas biocontrol strain that produces HPR in which the production of this compound correlates with its biocontrol activity.

Additional keywords: Persea americana.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society