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Biological Control of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, the Causal Agent of Basal Kernel Blight of Barley, by Antagonistic Pantoea agglomerans

April 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  4
Pages  368 - 375

Andrea Braun-Kiewnick , Barry J. Jacobsen , and David C. Sands

Department of Plant Sciences, 205 Ag. Bioscience Building, P.O. Box 173150, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717-3150

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Accepted for publication 27 December 1999.

Strains of Pantoea agglomerans (synanamorph Erwinia herbicola) suppressed the development of basal kernel blight of barley, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, when applied to heads prior to the Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae infection window at the soft dough stage of kernel development. Field experiments in 1994 and 1995 revealed 45 to 74% kernel blight disease reduction, whereas glasshouse studies resulted in 50 to 100% disease control depending on the isolate used and barley cultivar screened. The efficacy of biocontrol strains was affected by time and rate of application. Percentage of kernels infected decreased significantly when P. agglomerans was applied before pathogen inoculation, but not when coinoculated. A single P. agglomerans application 3 days prior to the pathogen inoculation was sufficient to provide control since populations of about 107 CFU per kernel were established consistently, while Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae populations dropped 100-fold to 2.0 × 104 CFU per kernel. An application to the flag leaf at EC 49 (before heading) also reduced kernel infection percentages significantly. Basal blight decreased with increasing concentrations (103 to 107 CFU/ml) of P. agglomerans, with 107 CFU/ml providing the best control. For long-term preservation and marketability, the survival of bacterial antagonists in several wettable powder formulations was tested. Over all formulations tested, the survival declined between 10- to >100-fold over a period of 1.5 years (r = -0.7; P = 0.000). Although not significant, storage of most formulations at 4°C was better for viability (90 to 93% survival) than was storage at 22°C (73 to 79%). However, long-term preservation had no adverse effect on biocontrol efficacy.

Additional keywords: barley bacterial diseases, Hordeum vulgare , integrated pest management.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society