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Evidence that the Biofungicide Serenade (Bacillus subtilis) Suppresses Clubroot on Canola via Antibiosis and Induced Host Resistance

March 2013 , Volume 103 , Number  3
Pages  245 - 254

R. Lahlali, G. Peng, B. D. Gossen, L. McGregor, F. Q. Yu, R. K. Hynes, S. F. Hwang, M. R. McDonald, and S. M. Boyetchko

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and ninth authors: Saskatoon Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0X2, Canada; seventh author: Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Crop Development Center North, 17507 Fort Road, Edmonton, Alberta T5Y 6H3, Canada; and eighth author: Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Accepted for publication 24 October 2012.

This study investigated how the timing of application of the biofungicide Serenade (Bacillus subtilis QST713) or it components (product filtrate and bacterial cell suspension) influenced infection of canola by Plasmodiophora brassicae under controlled conditions. The biofungicide and its components were applied as a soil drench at 5% concentration (vol/vol or equivalent CFU) to a planting mix infested with P. brassicae at seeding or at transplanting 7 or 14 days after seeding (DAS) to target primary and secondary zoospores of P. brassicae. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to assess root colonization by B. subtilis as well as P. brassicae. The biofungicide was consistently more effective than the individual components in reducing infection by P. brassicae. Two applications were more effective than one, with the biofungicide suppressing infection completely and the individual components reducing clubroot severity by 62 to 83%. The biofungicide also reduced genomic DNA of P. brassicae in canola roots by 26 to 99% at 7 and 14 DAS, and the qPCR results were strongly correlated with root hair infection (%) assessed at the same time (r = 0.84 to 0.95). qPCR was also used to quantify the transcript activity of nine host-defense-related genes in inoculated plants treated with Serenade at 14 DAS for potential induced resistance. Genes encoding the jasmonic acid (BnOPR2), ethylene (BnACO), and phenylpropanoid (BnOPCL and BnCCR) pathways were upregulated by 2.2- to 23-fold in plants treated with the biofungicide relative to control plants. This induced defense response was translocated to the foliage (determined based on the inhibition of infection by Leptosphaeria maculans). It is possible that antibiosis and induced resistance are involved in clubroot suppression by Serenade. Activity against the infection from both primary and secondary zoospores of P. brassicae may be required for maximum efficacy against clubroot.

Additional keywords: Brassica napus, biofilm, induced systemic resistance, systemic acquired resistance.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society