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Systemically Induced Resistance and Microbial Competitive Exclusion: Implications on Biological Control

March 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  3
Pages  260 - 266

A. Martinuz, A. Schouten, and R. A. Sikora

Institute for Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), Department of Plant Health, Soil Ecosystem Phytopathology and Nematology Laboratory, University of Bonn, Nussallee 9, 53115 Bonn, Germany.

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Accepted for publication 25 August 2011.

The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, is among the most damaging agricultural pests, particularly to tomato. The mutualistic endophytes Fusarium oxysporum strain Fo162 (Fo162) and Rhizobium etli strain G12 (G12) have been shown to systemically induce resistance toward M. incognita. By using triple-split-root tomato plants, spatially separated but simultaneous inoculation of both endophytes did not lead to additive reductions in M. incognita infection. More importantly, spatially separated inoculation of Fo162 and G12 led to a reduction in Fo162 root colonization of 35 and 39% when G12 was inoculated on a separate root section of the same plant in two independent experiments. In an additional split-root experiment, spatial separation of Fo162 and G12 resulted in a reduction of Fo162 root colonization of approximately 50% over the water controls in two independent experiments. The results suggested that the suppressive activity of G12 on Fo162 and M. incognita is possibly related to the induction of specific plant defense mechanisms. Thus, although Fo162 and G12 have the ability to systemically repress M. incognita infection in tomato, they can be considered incompatible biocontrol agents when both organisms are present simultaneously on the same root system.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society