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Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacterial Mediated Protection in Tomato Against Tomato mottle virus

July 2000 , Volume 84 , Number  7
Pages  779 - 784

John F. Murphy and Geoffrey W. Zehnder , Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL 36849 ; David J. Schuster , University of Florida-IFAS, Bradenton 34203 ; Edward J. Sikora , Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL 36849 ; Jane E. Polston , University of Florida-IFAS, Bradenton 34203 ; and Joseph W. Kloepper , Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL 36849

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Accepted for publication 29 March 2000.

Tomato plants treated with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), applied as an industrially formulated seed treatment, a spore preparation mixed with potting medium (referred to as powder), or a combined seed-powder treatment, were evaluated under field conditions for induced resistance to Tomato mottle virus (ToMoV). The PGPR strains used, based on their ability to induce resistance in previous experiments, included Bacillus amyloliquefaciens 937a, B. subtilis 937b, and B. pumilus SE34. Experiments were conducted in the fall of 1997 and the spring and fall of 1998 at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research & Education Center, Bradenton. All plants were rated for symptoms and analyzed for the presence of ToMoV DNA at 40 days after transplant (dat). Whitefly densities were determined on individual plants in each trial, and marketable fruit yields were determined at least two times during each trial. The highest level of protection occurred in the fall 1997 trial when, at 40 dat, ToMoV disease severity ratings were significantly less in all PGPR powder-based treatments than in either of the seed or control treatments. Detection of viral DNA using Southern dot blot analyses correlated with symptom severity ratings, as did fruit yields. A reduction in ToMoV symptom severity ratings and incidence of viral DNA were also observed for some PGPR treatments in the spring 1998 trial, although corresponding yield responses were not apparent. Little or no resistance was observed in the fall 1998 trial. No differences in disease severity, detection of ToMoV DNA, or yield occurred among treatments in any of the trials at 80 dat. These data show that up to 40 dat under natural conditions of high levels of vector-virus pressure, some PGPR treatments resulted in reduced ToMoV incidence and disease severity and, in some cases, a corresponding increase in fruit yield. The use of PGPR could become a component of an integrated program for management of this virus in tomato.

Additional keywords: biocontrol, geminivirus

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society