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Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratio and Carbon Loading of Production Media Influence Freeze-Drying Survival and Biocontrol Efficacy of Cryptococcus nodaensis OH 182.9

June 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  6
Pages  626 - 631

Shouan Zhang , David A. Schisler , Michael J. Boehm , and Patricia J. Slininger

First and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210; first, second, and fourth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Peoria, IL 61604

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Accepted for publication 8 February 2005.

Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Gibberella zeae, is a devastating disease of wheat worldwide. Cryptococcus nodaensis OH 182.9 is an effective biocontrol agent for this disease. Development of a dried product of OH 182.9 would have potential advantages of ease of handling, favorable economics, and acceptance by end users. Isolate OH 182.9 was grown for 48 and 72 h in semi-defined complete liquid (SDCL) medium with carbon-to-nitrogen (C/N) ratios of 6.5:1, 9:1, 11:1, 15:1, and 30:1, and in SDCL C/N 30:1 media with varied carbon loadings of 7, 14, 21, and 28 g/liter. Total biomass production and cell survival at 15 days after freeze-drying were evaluated. Biomass production of OH 182.9 (CFU per milliliter) was not different for all cultivation time by medium C/N or carbon loading combinations. In general, cells harvested at 48 h survived freeze-drying better than those harvested at 72 h. Survival of freeze-dried cells was greatest for cells grown for 48 h in C/N30:1 medium. Cells produced in C/N 6.5:1 medium generally exhibited the poorest survival. For the C/N 30:1 media, cells from 7 g/liter carbon loading medium harvested after 48 h had the best survival after freeze-drying. The difference in freeze-dried cell populations between superior and inferior treatments was typically 1 to 2 log units at 15 days after freeze-drying. The biomass of OH 182.9 produced in SDCL with varied C/N ratios and in SDCL C/N 30:1 media with differing carbon loadings was tested for biocontrol efficacy against FHB in greenhouse studies. The biomass harvested from SDCL C/N 9:1, 11:1, and 15:1 media after 48 h significantly reduced symptoms of FHB. None of the treatments with cells harvested at 72 h consistently reduced FHB severity (P ≤ 0.05). Cells grown in SDCL C/N 30:1 media with 7 and 14 g/liter carbon loading significantly reduced FHB disease severity. Cells harvested from SDCL C/N 9:1, 11:1, and 30:1 with 14 g/liter carbon increased the 100-kernel weight compared with the disease control. The potential of improving OH 182.9 product quality via management of the nutritional environment of the production medium is demonstrated in this study.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2005