R. J. Worthington,
S. A. Rogers,
R. W. Huigens, III, and
C. Melander, Department of Chemistry, and
D. F. Ritchie, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
We report a small molecule additive, a member of the 2-aminoimidazole (2AI) group that is an analogue of the marine sponge natural product oroidin that suppresses resistance of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria to copper and decreases biofilm formation in an in vitro system. In laboratory experiments, 2AI combined with copper reduced both bacterial multiplication in broth and bacterial recovery on pepper leaf discs of a copper-resistant strain of X. euvesicatoria to a level close to that of a copper-sensitive strain. Compound 2AI used alone exhibited minimal bactericidal activity. In 3 years of field experiments, when combined with a copper-containing material, copper hydroxide (Kocide 3000), and other antibacterial materials, these spray mixtures resulted in decreased bacterial spot foliar disease and increased fruit yields using hybrid bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars and copper-resistant strains of X. euvesicatoria. This study demonstrates the concept for using small molecules as additives to antibacterial compounds at nonbactericidal concentrations under field conditions that, in the laboratory, were demonstrated to suppress bacterial biofilms and copper-resistant strains.