Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, 209 Rouse Life Sciences Building, Auburn University, AL 36849
We evaluated combinations of two strains of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) formulated with the carrier chitosan for the ability to induce growth promotion of tomato plants and resistance to infection by Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Each PGPR combination included GB03 (Bacillus subtilis) and one of the following PGPR strains: SE34 (B. pumilus), IN937a (B. amyloliquefaciens), IN937b (B. subtilis), INR7 (B. pumilus), or T4 (B. pumilus). The PGPR combinations formulated with chitosan are referred to as biopreparations. Tomato plants treated with each of the biopreparations appeared phenotypically and developmentally similar to nonbacterized control plants that were 10 days older (referred to as the older control). When plants were challenged with CMV, all plants in the biopreparation treatments and the older control treatment had significantly greater height, fresh weight, and flower and fruit numbers than that of plants in the CMV-inoculated same age control treatment. CMV disease severity ratings were significantly lower for biopreparation-treated and older control tomato plants than for that of same age control plants at 14 and 28 days postinoculation (dpi). CMV accumulation in young noninoculated leaves was significantly less for all biopreparation-treated plants and those in the older control than for the same age control plants at 14 dpi and for four of the five biopreparation treatments at 28 dpi. In those tomato plants shown to be infected, the amount of CMV in noninoculated leaves was significantly lower for three of the biopreparation treatments and the older control treatment at 14 dpi and biopreparation G/INR7 treatment at 28 dpi when compared with the control treatment. These data show that treatment of tomato plants with biopreparations results in significant enhancement of growth and protection against infection by CMV.