First and fourth authors: Laboratory of Plant Disease and Biocontrol, and second and third authors: Laboratory of Phytopharmacology, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea, University, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea.
We previously selected rhizobacterial strains CCR04, CCR80, GSE09, ISE13, and ISE14, which were antagonistic to Phytophthora blight of pepper. In this study, we investigated the effects of root treatment of rhizobacteria on anthracnose occurrence, ripening, and yield of pepper fruit in the plastic house and field in 2008 and 2009. We also examined the effects of volatiles produced by the strains on fruit ripening and on mycelial growth and spore development of Colletotrichum acutatum and Phytophthora capsici in the laboratory, identifying the volatile compounds by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In the house tests, all strains significantly (P < 0.05) reduced anthracnose incidence on pepper fruit; strains GSE09 and ISE14 consistently produced higher numbers of pepper fruit or increased the fresh weight of red fruit more than the controls in both years. In the field tests, all strains significantly (P < 0.05) reduced anthracnose occurrence on either green or red pepper fruit; strain ISE14 consistently produced higher numbers or increased fresh weights of red fruit more than the controls in both years. In the laboratory tests, volatiles produced by strains GSE09 and ISE13 only stimulated maturation of pepper fruit from green (unripe) to red (ripe) fruit; the volatiles of certain strains inhibited the growth and development of C. acutatum and P. capsici. On the other hand, GC-MS analysis of volatiles of strains GSE09 and ISE13 revealed 17 distinct compounds in both strains, including decane, dodecane, 1,3-di-tert-butylbenzene, tetradecane, 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol, and hexadecane. Among these compounds, 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol only stimulated fruit ripening and inhibited growth and development of the pathogens. Taken together, strains GSE09 and ISE14 effectively reduced anthracnose occurrence and stimulated pepper fruit ripening and yield, possibly via bacterial volatiles. Therefore, these two strains could be potential agents for controlling Phytophthora blight and anthracnose, and for increasing fruit ripening and yield. To our knowledge, this is the first report of volatiles such as 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol produced by rhizobacteria being related to both fruit ripening and pathogen inhibition.
induced systemic resistance.